Avoiding Probate #3 – Speed is the Key

Part Three in our series, Reasons to Avoid Probate, deals with the very slow nature of the Probate Process.

We estimate that the average Probate can take anywhere from 9-18 months to process.

Why so long?  A couple of reasons:

Probate is a Court-supervised process, that has a number of statutory and other deadlines.

The one non-negotiable deadline is the statutory Creditor’s Notification Period.

California Probate Code Section 9050-9054 sets the basic parameters of providing Notice to Creditors.

A Personal Representative has up to four (4) months after Letters Testamentary have been issued to notify all creditors.

Once notice has been given, a Creditor has sixty (60) days to file their claim.

Taken together, the Creditor Notification period can last up to six (6) months!

In the meantime, the Probate can not close, and ultimate distribution to the beneficiaries can not be made until the Creditor Notification period has elapsed.

However, in addition to the statutory time limits on a Probate, you also have to factor in the overcrowded and underfunded nature of the Probate Court itself.

Like all State agencies, Probate Courts are subject to the current financial crisis and budget cuts.  Sometimes this can result in under-staffing, and sometimes it can lead to mandatory closure days, depending on the budget chaos in Sacramento.

All this leads to extra delays in the Probate process, which is reason enough to Avoid Probate.