Kern County Probate Overview
Probate involves the legal process of transferring a decedent’s assets to his/her beneficiaries. Some of the decedent’s assets may be liquidated to satisfy outstanding debts. Remaining assets will be transferred to beneficiaries designated in the decedent’s will. The probate process typically takes between 7 to 12 months to complete.
To file probate in Kern County, the decedent must have lived in Kern County or, alternatively, owned real property in Kern County. To start the probate proceedings, the estate Executor or Personal Representative must file a petition to probate in the appropriate Kern County court that has been authorized to oversee probate cases. As mentioned earlier, the probate process usually takes 7 months to one year. You do not need to hire a probate attorney to file probate in Kern County. An experienced legal document assistant such as A People’s Choice can help you draft the forms you need, file them with the court, and assist you in navigating through the probate process.
How to File Probate in Kern County
To file probate in Kern County, the Petitioner must choose the applicable division of the court that has jurisdiction to hear the matter. The venue for probate in Kern County is the Metropolitan Division – Justice Building located at 1215 Truxtin Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93301.
Although you can file probate without an attorney, a person who wants to file probate in Kern County should seek some type of experienced probate service to help with the paperwork and process. Probate proceedings not only involve preparing and processing a multitude of documents, but a probate proceeding also requires a multitude of different steps to complete it. In our experience, fixing problems created as a result of inexperienced, faulty probate document preparation is often more expensive than had the person started with a professional probate document preparer from the start.
Once the Petitioner files the probate petition with the Kern County court clerk, the Petitioner must prepare an inventory of the decedent’s property, notify all interested creditors of the estate, pay the decedent’s debts and taxes, and distribute the decedent’s property in accordance with the terms of the will or pursuant to laws of intestate succession (if there is no will). Review the published Local Rules of court to learn the procedures on how to probate an estate in Kern County. For example, Kern County probate court may require the Petitioner to file special mandatory “local forms” when processing and/or finalizing probate proceedings.
Tips Regarding Kern County Probate Cases
Kern County offers an online Case Search that will allow you to see the court docket and case information for probate cases.
Probate matters in Kern County typically involve two hearings. Prior to these hearings, the proceedings and documents on file are reviewed by a probate examiner who will check the information and make notes of discrepancies or matters of concern for the court. Unfortunately, unlike other courts, the probate examiner’s notes are not available for review prior to the hearing. The court does, however, make available their tentative rulings and hearing comments. Anyone can view these notes and comments and see whether or not a case is recommended for approval the day before the scheduled hearing. Simply enter the complete case number in the “smart search” of the case search portal page. Notes are typically available after noon on the business day prior to the hearing. You will need to locate the hearing date which will include comments along with the recommendation. If a case is not recommended for approval, it is important that the Personal Representative appears at the hearing in person or by “Court Call.” If they do not appear, the petition may be dismissed or taken off calendar.
The Kern County Probate division can be contacted directly through the court’s website.
Kern County offers e-filing for probate cases. Documents e-filed between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm PST on a business day will be filed the same day. E-Filings received after 5:00 pm or on a weekend/holiday will be file stamped the next business day. E-filings must comply with California Rules of Court 2.250-2.261.
Contact A People’s Choice for help in preparing a probate petition for filing in Kern County. We offer flat-fee probate document preparation services for people seeking to file probate in Kern County and have over 35 years experience in handling Kern County probate proceedings. You do not have to hire an expensive attorney to file probate in Kern County. Contact us today at 800-747-2780 for more information about the services we provide.