Tip Sheet on How to Begin Probate of a Will in California by Mark W. Bidwell

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In California a Petition for Probate of Will and Letters is required to begin the process to transfer assets from a decedent to beneficiaries of the Will. Tip Sheet by Mark W. Bidwell explains in detail how to open probate.

Mark W. Bidwell, Attorney at Law

Tip Sheet by Mark W. Bidwell explains California law requirements to begin probate. Probate begins with filing a Petition for Probate for a hearing and to provide notice of the hearing. Most often the petition is filed in the county where the decedent died.

If the personal representative is nominated as executor in the Will, the Petition is for “Probate of Will and for Letters Testamentary.” If the personal representative is not named in the Will, the Petition is for “Probate of Will and for Letters of Administration with Will Annexed.” “Letters” are written court appointment of the personal representative. The Will is documentary evidence of the Testator’s intent.

Because the Will is evidence the original Will is “lodged” with the court and the original must be signed by the testator and two witnesses. If the Will is not the original, signed by the testator and properly witnessed, proponents of the Will must by clear and convincing evidence proof to the court that at the time the testator signed the Will, it was his or her intent to have the Will a valid testamentary document.

Prior to issuing letters it is standard practice for the Courts to require the personal representative to post bond for his or her performance. A bond is not cheap and is in effect a credit application. A personal representative with a poor credit record may be able to obtain a bond. If the Will waives bond or if all beneficiaries waive bond the courts will generally honor the waiver.

If the decedent owned real property the Petition should request authorization to Administer under the "Independent Administration of Estates Act." This authority allows for the sale of real property in probate without a court hearing and without a court auction.

The probate court is required to have a hearing within 45 days of the date the petition is filed. Fifteen days prior to the hearing all heirs of the decedent and all beneficiaries of the Will must be provided written notice of the hearing and a copy of petition. Notice of the court hearing must be published in an adjudicated, local newspaper three times over a 15 day period prior to the hearing.

Probate begins with filing a Petition for Probate for a hearing for Letters. Written notice and publication of the hearing must be provided in a timely manner. The hearing begins the probate process that will take about one year to complete.

This press release is provided by Mark W. Bidwell, an attorney licensed in California. Mark W. Bidwell markets legal services through his website http://www.deedandrecord.com Office is located at 4952 Warner, Suite 235, Huntington Beach, California 92649. Phone number is 714-846-2888.

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Mark Bidwell

Mark W.Bidwell
Kim Nishida
since: 10/2012
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