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How Long Does Probate Take in California?

Herrig & Vogt Nov. 20, 2015

The process of probate in California involves taking a closer look at the decedent’s will and estate. In so many ways, this is actually beneficial, as it can help avoid oversights, both big and small. But to many people, they understandably only think about how the distribution of the assets is going to be delayed. After all, they could be depending on inheritance to pay off debts, or something just as critical.

The question then arises: “How long does probate take in California?” The answer is more vague than you want to hear.

The Average Probate

There is no absolute definition of how long the probate process will take to fully complete. For the most part, creditors will have four months to make claims towards pieces of the estate, so you can probably expect to wait at least that much. There are also going to be pretty big delays between filing the petition and actually having the case heard. In California, the courts are infamously backlogged so that wait could be another few months.

If it can be put into an average definition, an uncomplicated estate and well-drafted will might take upwards of eight months to finalize. If the estate is quite large, it might be a full year before property is distributed. If the will is drafted incorrectly, or if someone has a valid claim to challenge how a piece of the estate is being handed out, an unknown amount of months could be added to the lifespan of the probate.

Although it is clearly a unique and peculiar case, there is a home in San Juan Capistrano that has apparently been locked in probate since 1925. While the odds of this happening to your loved one’s estate are about as slim as winning the lottery three times in a row, it does stand to show that probate is, for the most part, an undefined process.

If you need to manage a will going through probate – or if you want to learn how to increase your chances of avoiding probate – call us to speak to a Roseville probate lawyer from Herrig & Vogt, LLP. Our firm was founded in 1994, and we offer free consultations, so don’t hesitate to contact us today!