Losing a love one can be devastating. While most families grieve their loss, those left behind must also figure out what to do with their loved one’s estate. To distribute assets of a deceased person’s estate to his/her loved ones, a petition for probate must be filed with California court (if assets are held outside of trust and over $150,000 in value). Read on to learn more about how to file probate in California.

Probate deals with transferring the property of the deceased to his/her heirs or beneficiaries. The probate judge will decide whether a will is valid and appoint a representative to take care of the financial responsibilities of the person who passed away. Probate usually takes 9 months to 1 ½ years to complete.

“A People’s Choice helped us throughout our entire year-long probate making the process very easy and manageable. They also were able to save us time as well as thousands of dollars in lawyer’s fees. ” A. Vuckovich
“They were extremely friendly and fast to respond to questions and made the process simple. We hardly ever had to contact the courthouse directly and even had our hearing without an appearance.” A. Vuckovich
“Having now used the probate services of A People’s Choice, I would highly recommend their services to anyone!” We had a great experience and are very pleased.” A. Vuckovick

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When considering how to file probate in California, it is important to understand the various options available to settle an estate under California law. Depending on the value of your loved one’s estate, you may be able to utilize simplified probate procedures. For example, if you are to inherit personal property valued at less than $150,000, you may not have to go to court. You can follow a simplified probate process to transfer property to your name. This process does not apply to real property. If the decedent’s estate is valued at more than $150,000, you will have to go to court and start a probate case. We have several other articles that review and compare the simplified probate proceedings. You may also want to search our website for other articles that review in more detail various aspects of how to file probate in California.

How to File Probate in California

To file a Petition for probate in California, there are many different forms that are required to be completed depending upon whether there is a will or no will as well as other variables. You will need complete the following forms along with all required attachments and file and/or lodge them with the court clerk.  Be aware that these Judicial Council forms are not all-inclusive of the attachments required in most California probate proceedings which will have to be custom prepared based on the circumstances.

  • Petition for Probate (DE-111)
  • Waiver of Bond (DE-111 A-3d)
  • Notice of Petition to Administer Estate (DE-121)
  • Duties and Liabilities of Personal Representative (DE-147)
  • Confidential Supplement (DE-147S)
  • Letters (DE-150)
  • Order for Probate (DE-140)

Once the probate petition is filed, the court clerk will set a hearing date. The petitioner is required to provide all interested parties with notice. This includes surviving family members and creditors. Notice must also be published in a newspaper of general circulation. A probate examiner will review the case prior to the hearing to confirm that everything is correct. Supplements may need tobe filed to address issues brought out by the probate examiner.  At the hearing, the judge will appoint a personal representative of the estate once the examiner’s findings are completed. The personal representative will gather assets and prepare an Inventory and Appraisal. Formal notice must be provided to creditors and outstanding debts will have to be paid. The personal representative may sell some or all of the estate assets and file a Petition for Final Distribution so that the the estate assets can be distributed to beneficiaries. A final tax return should be completed and the representative may need to provide an accounting to the probate court regarding the division as well as distribution of assets. If the judge is satisfied, he/she will discharge the personal representative of his/her duties.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information on how to file probate in California. We can help you fill out and file all required probate forms. We also provide probate case management services for matters we are handling. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

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