Probate

Many people have heard the term “probate” but wonder what it actually means. Simply put, probate is the court-supervised process of distributing assets after a person has died. Unfortunately, there is nothing simple about it, particularly in the state of California. It is frustrating, time-consuming, often needlessly expensive, and open to the public. How long does the probate process take? It depends on the size and complexity of the estate, the schedule of the local probate court, and whether it involves disputes between family members and/or creditors. In California, most probates take about a year, but some can go on for much longer. As California probate lawyers at CunninghamLegal, we have the experience and mastery of California probate law to expedite the process and resolve any problems as quickly as possible, in fact we measure our success by how quickly we close a client’s probate estate—usually within twelve months. We also understand what you are going through during this difficult time, and will strive to make the process as stress-free as we can.

Perhaps you are wondering what is involved in probating an estate? While every situation is unique, a “typical” probate requires all of the following:

  • Filing a petition with the probate court
  • Notice to heirs named in the Will or, if there is no Will, to statutory heirs
  • Petition to appoint an Executor (if there is a Will) or an Administrator
  • Inventory and appraisal of all estate assets
  • Payment of estate debt to creditors
  • Sale of estate assets
  • Payment of estate taxes
  • Final distribution of assets to heirs

Much of our practice is dedicated to helping families avoid California probate entirely. However, if you are faced with the prospect of dealing with the California probate court, we can guide you through the process compassionately and efficiently.