How Long Does Probate Take in California?

When you’re trying to settle an estate, you no doubt want matters resolved as quickly as possible. At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, our experienced estate planning attorneys can walk you through the probate process – but how long does a probate take in CA, and what should you expect to happen?

Our probate lawyers can answer all of your questions. Simply call us at 818-676-9572 to schedule a free consultation. In the meantime, however, here’s an overview of how long probate takes in California.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a means for determining how a deceased person’s assets should be distributed after their death. The process may involve:

  • determining the validity of a will; or
  • distributing the person’s assets in accordance with California law.

The purpose of probate law is to ensure that an estate is properly finalized after a person’s death, which means that creditors receive any payments due and beneficiaries receive their inheritance.

Our California probate lawyers can explain the probate process in more detail as it relates to your unique situation.

How Long Is Probate In California?

How long does probate take in California? Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward answer to this. Every estate is unique and so the timeline varies. There are, however, some general guidelines.

  • A “quick” probate takes around eight or nine months to complete.
  • The average probate takes closer to 18 months. 
  • Complex or large estates can take two or more years to go through probate.  

At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, our team will do everything we can to help speed up the process, and we’ll ensure you understand what’s happening at every stage.

How Long Does Probate Take in California Without a Will?

It’s not uncommon for probate to take a little longer if there’s no will. This is because the court must appoint someone to serve as the executor and handle the deceased’s estate.

Writing a will, and building a comprehensive estate plan, can help you avoid a lengthy probate. Our lawyers can help you design a custom estate plan to best suit your needs.

Why Does Probate Take So Long in California?

There are a few reasons why probate takes a while. 

First, the probate court must determine if there’s a valid will. This can take time because it’s not always clear where a will is located, and if there’s more than one version, there may be questions about which will is valid.

If there is no will, or if there’s no named executor, then the court must appoint an executor according to probate law. Only then can the executor gather information regarding the estate’s assets and debt, and submit their findings to the court.

Once all of these steps have been completed, the court will distribute any remaining assets to the will beneficiaries, or according to the laws of intestate succession if there is no will. Large estates and family conflicts can further complicate this process, drawing out the probate process even longer than what is considered to be normal.

Can Probate Be Avoided? 

It’s sometimes possible to avoid probate, yes. You might avoid probate if, for example, it’s a very small estate, or there are assets held in living trusts.

Our team can explain what steps you might take to avoid probate or at least streamline the process.

How Our California Probate Attorneys Can Help

Make no mistake. The probate process in California takes time. Having a lawyer who can help guide you through this process can help minimize delays and save you potential legal troubles in the future. To schedule a free consultation at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, call our location in Woodland Hills at 818-676-9572. You may also complete our online contact form.