How long does probate take?

California law says the personal representative must complete probate within one year from the date of appointment, unless s/he files a federal estate tax return. In this case, the personal representative can have 18 months to complete probate. If probate has not been completed by that time, the personal representative must file a status report to the court to explain what still has to be done and how much time that will take.

If the personal representative does not report to the court, the beneficiaries can ask the court to order him or her to file an accounting or take other actions to close probate. The court can remove the personal representative and appoint someone else. Sometimes there are circumstances that can make probate take longer.

If there is a Will contest (a claim filed with the court that all or part of the will is not valid), or the size and complexity of the estate requires extra time, or it is hard to find beneficiaries, the process can drag out. Some probate cases take years to resolve.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

TALK TO AN ATTORNEY

We proudly serve clients throughout California. We are pleased to offer free consultations in all the areas of law that we practice. Set up a time to meet with us to learn how we might be able to help you take care of your estate planning, business and asset protection needs.