The process of California probate closing is complex and may appear tedious. Fortunately, you can enlist the help of a registered legal document assistant such as A People’s Choice. We can help you close your loved one’s estate error-free and reduce your personal liability following the lengthy probate process. Read on to learn more about the steps required to file a California petition for final distribution, the process of probate closing, and what happens after probate is closed.

What is a California Petition for Final Distribution?

In order to close a probate estate, the personal representative must file a final account, report, and petition for final distribution, have the petition set for hearing, provide notice of the hearing to interested parties, and obtain a court order approving the final distribution after completion of the probate process. The California petition for final distribution gives the court a detailed history of the probate case.

More specifically, it explains why the estate is ready to close and outlines the distributions to beneficiaries. Usually, this final petition is a custom pleading that addresses specific legal issues surrounding the probate estate’s original administration.

When Can You File a California Petition for Final Distribution?

The earliest date the personal representative can file a California petition for final distribution of the decedent’s estate and personal property is four months after the court issued letters of administration. On the other hand, if the person in charge is unable to file a petition for final distribution within one year after the court-issued letters, they must file a verified report regarding the status of the estate assets. This should be done before the personal representative thinks of issuing a closing statement.
This report must explain why the personal representative has not yet closed the estate and the time needed to do so. Then, the court will set a status report for the hearing. At this time, the personal representative must provide interested parties with a Notice of Hearing (Form DE-120). At the hearing, the court will decide whether to let the estate stay open or make it a closed estate.

Steps to Close Probate Estate in California, and What Happens After Probate is Closed?

How to Close a Probate Estate in California | A People's Choice

1. Allowance or Rejection of Creditor’s Claims in Probate

The personal representative will need to complete and file the Allowance or Rejection of Creditor’s Claim – Form DE 174 for each claim filed through a legal process. Then, creditors will have 60 days to file a claim after the receipt of notice is mailed, or four months after notice of letters. Once a creditor files a claim, the personal representative will have 30 days to pay, allow, or reject and contest the claim.

The payment of claims are based on the following priority:


  • IRS or California Franchise Tax Board
  • Administrative expenses
  • Secured creditors
  • Funeral expenses for the deceased person
  • Family allowance
  • Wage claims from financial institutions
  • General debts from creditors and potential creditors


If the estate has no monetary assets to pay the claims, its real property must be sold (through a formal notice) to satisfy outstanding debts such as estate taxes.

2. File California Petition for Final Distribution, What Happens After Probate is Closed?

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What happens after probate is closed? In most cases, the decedent’s real property or other assets are not to be distributed until a court order is granted. Therefore, upon the personal representative filing a California petition for a final distribution in probate, the court will set a formal hearing date.

At this time, if the court grants the petition for final distribution, the personal representative must file an order for the final distribution of assets to beneficiaries. Then, the personal representative can distribute the remaining assets accordingly. This estate administration process won’t be open to any form of probate petition.

After probate is closed, upon receiving their section of the assets, heirs and beneficiaries must sign a receipt of distribution that indicates the distribution of estate assets. Then, the personal representative must file these signed receipts with the court. Upon the estate being completely distributed pursuant to the order, the personal representative can file an Ex Parte for Final Discharge and Order, Form DE-295.
Also, the representative should include copies of the filed receipts to provide proof of distribution of the estate funds.

Finally, the court will discharge the personal representative of all liability once they’ve distributed the estate’s assets according to the court order. However, the personal representative may get recalled to perform the distribution of any assets after closure that had not been accounted for.

Using a Legal Document Assistant Service to Close Probate Estate

Contact A People’s Choice to close your loved one’s California probate and will help you know about what happens after probate is closed. We can help you draft the required forms and pleadings to properly close the estate at an affordable price. Contact us for more information.

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