How Long Does Probate Take In California?

by | Nov 10, 2022 | Uncategorized |

Probate may be a major hassle and has a reputation for moving relatively slowly. But how long does probate in California take? While the average period for an estate to be processed through probate is roughly nine months, this can vary greatly based on a number of circumstances. Some estates can be completed in a matter of months, while others can take years.

One thing is for sure: no two probate cases are exactly alike. However, we’ll go through what to expect with probate as well as some of the items that can slow things along.

Why Does Probate Have a Reputation For Being So Slow?

Assume you’re dealing with an average-sized estate. Even then, the executor of the estate must delay starting the probate process until after the funeral. Following that, the executor is responsible for discovering all of the decedent’s assets, gathering those assets, contacting the decedent’s creditors, ensuring they are current on their taxes, and only then can the process of distributing the estate to their heirs begin.

While this may not appear to be a lot, each of these processes necessitates the executor going through paperwork, tax records, bank statements, and locating all of the decedent’s assets. It is a time-consuming and exhausting procedure. There is a significant amount of documentation required. There are time constraints that must be satisfied. Most executors would benefit from the assistance of an estate planning attorney who can help them avoid unnecessary delays.

What Causes Delays In Probate?

A variety of factors can cause a delay in the proper processing of an estate in probate:

Delay Factor #1: There Are Various Beneficiaries

Even if all of the documentation and payments to creditors and the state go smoothly, the number of beneficiaries can drag down the process of transferring assets to heirs. The longer the process takes, the more benefits there are. If you have to communicate across state borders, probate will also take longer.


Furthermore, the more beneficiaries there are, the more likely there would be a disagreement over the distribution or management of the estate. In fact, these beneficiaries can hire their own attorneys to oversee the probate process. If they suspect something is wrong, they can submit motions that require a court ruling to advance.

Delay Factor #2: There Are Issues with a Will

Beneficiaries have every right to contest a will. However, the court will almost never find in their favor. They must be able to demonstrate that the decedent was not of sound mind or that the decedent’s will was somehow coerced. If one of the beneficiaries opposes the will, expect significant delays in the proceedings.

Delay Factor #3: There Isn’t A Will At All

If no will exists, the first item of business will be for one of the parties to ask the court to act as executor of the estate. If more than one party is interested, the court must make a choice based on their qualifications. After debts are satisfied, an algorithm known as intestate succession governs the process of allocating assets. When there is no will or no legal will, each step in the probate procedure takes longer (if the last will and testament has been invalidated).

Delay Factor #4: Estate Assets Are Extraordinary

Not all assets are straightforward. In other circumstances, the decedent held a portion of a firm or owed money on real estate they purchased. In that instance, the executor will be left with the task of distributing equity in a property or business endeavor. This can be highly complicated and may necessitate the services of an appraiser.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney Near You

Every estate plan is unique; therefore, every plan needs individualized attention and careful drafting to be as effective as possible. The Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo will assist you with starting your estate plan right now. We are here to help you through the process and ensure that your voice is heard loud and clear in your estate planning paperwork.  If you need assistance drafting an estate plan that accounts for your family’s unique needs, contact us.







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