Sometimes, when a loved one or other relative dies, there are other conditions, either in the will or around a will, that require the court to become involved in the process. Probate is the process by which the court settles an estate. Probate can occur for many reasons. These include proving the validity of a will, settling debts and taxes, or appointing a legal representative for the deceased. In complicated situations, it can also be used to assist with creating an inventory of the property. Probate can ensure that it is appropriately distributed among the heirs.
In California, there are simplified procedures for transferring property to a surviving spouse, joint tenant, or community property. There are also procedures that apply to property under one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, contingent on certain circumstances and the type of property. Probate tends to be necessary for other, more complicated situations. One of the more common of these situations is when property is being distributed to multiple family members.
According to California law, representatives must finish the probate process within one year from the date of appointment. However, if a federal estate tax is filed, the representative can take up to 18 months to complete the probate process.
If this is not completed in that time, a report needs to be filed with the court. It must describe the status of the process and include a statement of how much additional time it will take. If a report is not provided, beneficiaries of the estate can petition the court. The court can order a representative to close probate or file an accounting of the current status of the estate.
It is required by law to finish probate within a year to 18 months, if possible. In reality, the time in probate very much depends on the complexity of the situation.
In the simplest situations, all parties agree, the deceased’s creditors are settled, and the will is considered valid. There are seven phases to the probate process in California.
One of the situations that can extend the probate process most dramatically is a will contest. In this case, a claim is filed with the court stating that a portion or the entirety of the will is not valid. The entire court case regarding this claim needs to be finished before the estate can exit probate. This type of delay is entirely based on the individual situation. In some cases, these disputes are easy to resolve and can be cleared quickly. In other cases, they can extend the probate process for years.
A more common situation that can extend the probate process is when the size and complexity of an estate require extra time. A year or 18 months is not always sufficient to track down, account for, and agree on where every piece of an estate should go. An example would be where assets are disorganized or require appraisal to be appropriately valued. Sometimes, a person has multiple properties with valuables distributed among them. If there is no clear home for each piece of their property, it can drag out the process significantly.
A: After probate, the administrator of the estate must wait four months or more to petition for final distribution. The estate administrator must distribute these funds within one year of receiving letters from the court. Otherwise, they can file a report on the estate’s assets with the court. This can allow for a longer process.
A: The total cost of statutory probate fees in California is dependent on the value of the estate.
A: To receive your inheritance, you must wait at least four months after the probate process is completed. This can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. In most cases, sixteen months is a reasonable expectation. However, in more complex cases, it can take much longer to receive an inheritance.
If you need assistance with the probate process, do not hesitate to reach out to our team. We would be happy to assist you with the complexities of the system in your time of need. Contact Sweeney Probate Law today to discuss your case.