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California Probate: 5 Frequently Asked Questions


In this article, get to learn the answers to five frequently asked questions about probate in California. While reading these answers, please keep in mind that the information in this article is for informational purposes only. You should not use any of the information in this article to make decisions regarding probate. Before making any decision regarding probate, make sure you speak to a qualified probate lawyer.

Q: What Is Probate?

A: This is a legal process that occurs after an individual dies. Probate is the process whereby a decedent’s Will’s validity is proved in court or whereby a decedent’s estate is settled according to a state’s intestacy laws in the absence of a Will.

Q: How Does the Probate Process Begin?

A: Usually, someone must come forward and begin the probate process. In the presence of a Will that indicates the person a decedent chose to be their executor, the named executor is generally the one who should start the probate process. Suppose there is no Will or the individual named to serve as the executor is unavailable. In that case, a family member can ask the court to appoint them as executor or administrator so they can begin the probate process.

Usually, the probate process will begin when someone files a petition for probate with the superior court in the county where the decedent resided at the time of their death. The next step is a hearing usually set for 30 days after the initial petition has been filed with the superior court.

Q: Who Will Be Appointed the Executor or Administrator of a Decedent’s Estate?

A: If a decedent left a Will and named an executor in the Will, the named individual will most likely be legally appointed as the deceased person’s estate executor. If the named individual refuses the job or is deemed unfit to serve as an executor, the court will appoint someone else. If a decedent did not leave behind a Will, the court will appoint an administrator. Generally, the court will choose a relative to act as the estate administrator. Also, a party can request to serve as an estate administrator or for more than one individual to be appointed as an estate administrator.

Q: Does the Probate Process Take Long?

A: Whether the probate process takes a long or short time depends on the specifics of a case. Regardless of your situation, keep in mind that probate can be a lengthy process, often taking months, and, sometimes, even years. Some of the things that can make the probate process take long include creditor claims filed against the estate, disputes among beneficiaries, and litigation.

Q: Can I Handle the Probate Process Without a Lawyer?

A: Even though it may be possible for you to go through the probate process without a probate lawyer, hiring a skilled lawyer can help you ensure you complete all the steps of the probate process according to California law. Remember, probate laws can be quite complex.

Contact a California Probate Lawyer

If you have any questions about probate you would like answered or need help with the probate process, contact the dedicated California probate attorney, Robert L. Cohen – The Probate Guy – today to schedule a free telephonic consultation.


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I love being a probate attorney. I love helping people through a very difficult time in their lives with the probate process. My practice focuses solely on probate matters. My job is to complete the probate process as efficiently and painlessly for my clients as possible. I have found that paying the upfront costs of probate adds unneeded stress, so I will advance all of the fees and costs for the probate. No money is required to complete the probate. I will be reimbursed at the end of the case when you receive your inheritance. Call me NOW to discuss your case for free.

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