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Probate Process

Probate Process

What Actually Happens During The Probate Process?

The probate process begins when a petition for the appointment of an administrator or an executor is filed. Notice of that administration is published and sent to the heirs. There is a court hearing, where the administrator is appointed (assuming there are no objections). Letters are issued. After letters are issued, notice is sent to known creditors. The issuance of letters and the sending of notices trigger the clock on the amount of time that creditors have to file a creditor’s claim with the probate. That period of time passes and it closes the window for those creditors to make a claim to get paid during the probate. Then, the next thing to happen is the administrator obtains and prepares an inventory and obtains an appraisal from the probate referee that determines the value of the property of the estate. Once that is done, if there is property that is going to be sold or distributed in kind, the process takes place to prepare the property to where it could be divided up and distributed.

A petition to approve a first and final report and account will be prepared, notice to all of the parties will be sent, and upon court approval, the administrator will obtain an order to distribute the property. The administrator distributes the property according to the order and submits the receipts, along with an ex-parte application to be discharged. Upon approval of that discharge, the administrator is no longer administering the estate and the estate comes to a close. A typical probate is open and closed in slightly more than a year.

How Costly Is It To Go Through The Probate Process?

For a probate, the administrator’s statutory fee and the attorney’s statutory fees are the same. They are set forth in the probate code. It is 4% of the first $100,000, 3% of the second $100,000, and 2% of the third $100,000 to one million dollars. Then, it drops to 1% for the next $9 million, but that is not the only fees. If there is a will contest, that would involve additional costs. If it is unanticipated work, then the administrator, as well as the administrator’s attorney, are entitled to extraordinary fees.

Can Someone Realistically Try And Navigate The Probate Process Successfully On Their Own?

When someone attempts to do a legal process without hiring an attorney, they place themselves at risk. As the administrator of an estate, you are fiduciary to all of the other heirs and you have a fiduciary duty to perform that at a confident level. If you make a mistake, the responsibility is all on the person who has chosen to act without an attorney.

What Is The Outcome Someone Should Expect Once The Probate Process Is Complete?

Once the Probate Process is complete, the expected outcome is that the creditors of the estate are paid, the property is distributed according to the will or intestate succession. If there is a will, all of the property will be distributed according to the Decedent’s wishes. If there is no will, then all of the property will be distributed according to intestate succession. All of the bills of the decedent will be paid, there will be no taxes owing, and all of the affairs of the decedent will be wrapped up and taken care of, the Administrator and Attorney are paid and the Administrator is discharged (relieved of their appointment).

What Sets You And Your Firm Apart In Handling Probate Matters?

We represent people through compassionate and aggressive representation, as our model. We understand the sensitivity in a time of loss, and balance that with the need to take immediate action. Our experience in handling both simple and complicated probate cases with grace is what sets us apart.

For more information on The Probate Process In California, an initial consultation with an experienced California Probate Lawyer is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (916) 685-7878 today.


Mr. Cianchetta is an OUTSTANDING attorney. I was a little nervous about seeing an attorney for my case. Mr. Cianchetta and his staff made my wife and I feel right at ease. He took extra time explaining what to expect before, during and after our process. His advice was right on!

- Jack M.
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