How Long Does Probate Take in San Diego?

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Posted in : Blog, General, California Probate on 4/18/2024 by Christine Padilla, Attorney

How long does Probate take in San Diego? is one of the first questions we hear from clients wondering about the Probate process in San Diego. When family members find themselves faced with the Probate process, they want to know how long Probate will take, among other common questions. Below we will attempt to answer the question about the length of Probate here in San Diego County.

How long Probate takes in San Diego is dependent on various factors. Some of the primary factors influencing how long it will take to open and close Probate are as follows: 

The schedule of the San Diego Probate Court:

Probate is opened in the San Diego Superior Court by the filing of the initial Petition, known as the Petition for Letters of Administration. After the Administrator is appointed, and then performs their duties to administer the Estate, Probate is closed by the Administrator's filing of the closing Petition. The closing Petition is known as the Accounting and Petition for Final Distribution. Each time a Petition is filed, the Court assigns a hearing date for that Petition. How quickly the Administrator can obtain a hearing date depends on the Court's calendar schedule (which varies depending on how many Petitions are being filed at that time) the Judge's calendar and Courtroom availability/holidays, etc. 

Whether there is a Will contest or beneficiaries are contesting their inheritance:

When beneficiaries dispute the validity of the Will or the terms of the Will, this creates the need for additional hearings before the Court. The validity of the Will, including any Amendments to the Will, must be determined for the Administrator to properly distribute the assets of the estate.

Whether there are estate creditors and how many creditors there are:

Creditors are given a minimum of four months to file a claim for payment from the date the Administrator is appointed and Letters are issued. Claims must be reviewed by the Administrator and paid from the assets of the estate according to priority. When an estate has a large amount of debt/creditors, this can add to the Administrator's job and lengthen the Probate process.  

How many assets a decedent owned:

A large part of the Administrator's job in Probate is to take inventory and distribution of the Probate assets. Just as an estate with several creditors can slow down the process, settling an estate with multiple assets will also move more slowly. Further, if assets are owned outside of San Diego County, an ancillary Probate may need to be opened in another location. 

As you can imagine, the answers to the questions above can vary widely in each situation, and thus it can be difficult to answer how long Probate takes in San Diego. Generally speaking, however, a straightforward Probate with a modest estate takes an average of 9 months to one year, from the time Probate is opened until the Probate closing. Difficult Probates, on the other hand, can take up to 18 months to upwards of even several years.

Christine Padilla

Owner and Attorney at Law