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What factors affect the timeline of a probate process in California?

Losing a loved one can be devastating as it comes with a lot of life changes. In the midst of everything, you have to make sure that appropriate steps are taken to close the deceased’s estate. This is done through a legal process known as probate

Essentially, probate is the process of determining how the deceased person’s estate will be distributed according to existing laws. The administration process is made easier if the deceased left an estate plan behind. That said, a number of factors come into play when determining the timeline of the probate process. Here are some of them:

Number of designated beneficiaries

The higher the numbers of beneficiaries in the deceased person’s will, the longer things are going to take to apportion everyone their rightful inheritance. Documents must be sent to every beneficiary for signing before they are returned back to the court or the executor. And if the beneficiaries live far apart, obviously it is going to take much longer to get those documents back and forth. 

Disagreements among beneficiaries

The involvement of several beneficiaries can also open up the estate plan for potential disputes, which will also result in the estate taking much longer to settle. Depending on the complexity of the disputes, the probate process might end up in court, resulting in an even longer settlement timeframe.

When there’s no will

You can expect the process to take longer if the deceased died intestate. This is because the court will get more involved in settling an estate that is not subject to a will. The law will guide how the estate is distributed to the identified beneficiaries. 

Will contests

The first, and most important, step in the California probate process is filing a petition in court. Additionally, you have a definite timeframe within which you must submit a written petition to the concerned parties. During this period, someone might step forward to dispute the will. The probate proceeding is likely to take longer to settle if a will is contested since this will require the court’s involvement.

Multiple factors come into play when determining the duration it will take to settle the probate. In some cases, California probate may take just a couple of weeks to settle. In others, it could as well take years.