Probate is the judicial process whereby a deceased person’s estate is administered. The administration of a decedent’s estate involves several steps. One of the steps entails the resolution of all claims against the decedent. Thus, the decedent’s debts must be paid. Another step to the probate process entails the distribution of the decedent’s property. The decedent’s property can be devised pursuant to a will or the laws of intestate succession.
Most people believe that a will bypasses probate court. This is simply not true. For a will to be effective in California, it must be admitted to probate court. This means the executor cannot act pursuant to the terms of a will until she is approved by the court.
After the executor received an order of approval by the probate court, the executor must obtain letters. Letters is a term for the document that authorizes the executor to act on behalf of the estate. The executor has no ability to act until she receives letters. This process usually takes about 8 weeks, assuming no one contest the will or the appointment of the executor.
If a person passes away without a will or trust, an administrator must be appointed. For an administrator to be appointed, they must comply with the executor’s requirements listed above. In this instance, the decedent’s estate will be distributed pursuant to the laws of intestate succession.
Quite simply, probate is a complicated procedure that will take between 9 months to 1 ½ years to complete. This process could take longer according to the California Courts. Generally, the duration is much longer if not administered promptly and efficiently. It is imperative to hire experienced counsel to guide you through this process and minimize delays. If you are anyone you know need legal representation administering an estate, please contact The DLJ Law Firm today
Ready to Stop Settling For Less?
Where Only the Best Results Will Do