California Probate Process
As visually displayed above, the process starts when a petition for probate is filed in the probate Court in the California county where the decedent resided at death. The first Court date is 6-8 weeks later.
Before the first Court date publication is arranged in a local newspaper of general circulation and notice is mailed to all interested parties. At the first Court hearing, assuming everything has been done right, the Judge should issue an order approving the petition. With the order approving the petition the petitioner can get the “Letters” issued. Letters is the most important document in a probate.
During the next 4 months, or more, the Personal Representative (PR) will use Letters to take care of the decedent’s affairs. This will include gathering assets, dealing with creditors, selling real estate, paying taxes, and determining who the beneficiaries are. After the four months the PR can prepare and then file the final petition. Again, the Court date will likely be 6-8 weeks out. At that time the Judge can sign the final order and the case is basically done.
The only other thing left to do is get receipts signed by all the heirs or beneficiaries and then filing for a final discharge. The final discharge is then given to the bond company, if there was a bond, so that the entire file can be closed. Start to finish 7 months.
Note that if the Personal Representative is granted full IAEA authority, selling of real property is simplified: