In California, the Superior Courts oversee the probate process. Probate proceedings are necessary to settle the final legal and financial matters of a decedent’s estate. If a decedent leaves a valid will, a probate court will distribute the decedent’s property according to the will. If a decedent dies without a will, or intestate, a probate court will establish who his heirs are and distribute his property according to the Calfornia Laws of Intestacy which are contained in the probate code. California also offers a simplified probate process for estates valued below $150,000.
California’s probate courts distribute a decedent’s property according to the provisions in his will or through laws of intestate succession if there is no will. Additionally, probate courts in California oversee other financial issues concerning the decedent’s estate. For instance, if a decedent dies with debt, a probate court will see that the executor/personal representative gives notice and payment to creditors. A personal representative must complete the probate process within one year from the date of her appointment. If a personal representative files a federal estate tax, the time limit to finish the probate process is 18 months.
After the death of a loved one, it is generally a good idea to start the probate process as soon as possible. Essentially a full probate takes a minimum of seven (7) months in California. The process begins by determining who will be the personal representative of the estate and then hiring a competent attorney who can handle the probate for you. As your probate attorney, we will meet with you personally to determine what needs to be done, efficiently file all court documents, and move the probate process along towards the earliest possible conclusion.