San Diego Probate: How it’s Supposed to Work and What Can Go Wrong

Our firm describes a successful California probate as:

  • Transferring an accurate and explicit title to the appropriate beneficiaries or heirs
  • Halting creditors’ ungrounded claims
  • Taking less than a year

Probate typically takes as long as it does because of the large number of waiting periods that take place between filings and hearings. If everything goes smoothly, then probate takes seven months at the very minimum.

The process works as follows:

  • Attorney draws up the initial petition.
  • You review the petition and sign.
  • Attorney files the petition for probate with the court.
  • Date for first probate hearing is set for 6 to 12 weeks from filing date.
  • Court accepts petition for probate.
  • 12-week creditor claims period follows.
  • Attorney files second petition to distribute property and close estate.
  • Second probate hearing is held 6 to 12 weeks after filing.
  • Estate is distributed and closed.

There are a number of problems that can hold up the closing of an estate, sometimes dragging probate out for years. Common problems include:

  • A creditor files a claim to the estate.
  • Notice of probate isn’t given to all affected parties.
  • Petition for probate has inaccurate or missing information.
  • Petition to close estate has inaccurate or missing information.
  • Notice of publication is inaccurate or released too soon.
  • Beneficiaries contest the distribution of estate.
  • Lawsuits result from inaccuracies or perceived inaccuracies in the case.

Beneficiaries who are unsatisfied with the distribution of an estate will often take actions that stall probate indefinitely. More and more administrators or executors face costly lawsuits from beneficiaries who’ve hired attorneys to secure their own interests.

Are you the executor or administrator of an estate in need of guidance through the probate process? The California trust lawyers with The Grossman Law Firm serve clients in San Diego and outlying areas with estate planning, probate, trust administration, will contests, and trust litigation. To discuss your case at no cost, call us toll-free at 888-443-6590. To reach us online, use our online contact form.

Additionally, be sure to request a copy of Scott Grossman’s FREE book The Insider’s Guide to California Probate and Trust Administration.

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman


The Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307