Frequently Asked Questions about San Diego Probate
1. How long will my probate matter take? As a general rule, most probates in San Diego are finished in a year to 18 months. However there can be many issues that may cause the probate to last longer. Common examples are litigation issues that develop such as an objection to the will, unusual property that has to be appraised or liquidated, difficulty finding heirs or beneficiaries, and larger estates with tax issues.
2. If I am an administrator or an executor, will I have to post a bond? A bond is for the purpose of protecting the decedent’s estate in case the personal representative mismanages the estate. Depending on the size of the estate, bond premiums can be $2000 or more per year.If the will waives bond or you can get all the beneficiaries to waive bond, you probably won’t have to post a bond, however the Court can always order the personal representative to be bonded if the Court believes it is warranted. Bonds are usually required if the administrator or executor live out of state. To obtain a bond, you have to provide information to the bond company about your employment, criminal convictions, bankruptcies, and civil judgments against you. Some people are not bondable if they have issues in these areas.
3. What should I do if I am a creditor of a probate estate? If someone has died owing you money and there is a probate opened, you can file a creditor’s claim against the estate. You may receive a Notice of Administration if you are a known creditor in which case you have 60 days to file a claim. If you are not notifed of the probate, you have 4 months after the letters testamentary (probate with a will) or 4 months after the letters of administration (probate without a will) within which to file a claim.
4. What if my spouse died and all of his or her property is community property? If all of a decedent’s property is held as community property with the surviving spouse, a petition can be used to pass the assets to the surviving spouse. This is a simple petition filed in the probate court but without all the formalities of regular probate and it can be heard in a relatively short time after it is filed.
These are general answers to general questions but remember each probate situation has its own facts and issues which may change the general rules. If you have specific questions about your probate matter, we offer a complimentay 30 minute consultation. Contact us at Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation for probate and other estate planning issues.