Blog

5 Common Errors in California Probate Cases

There are dozens of errors that people make when they do not have a highly experienced California probate attorney handling their case. Here are five common ones to avoid:

1) Failing to file the will within 30 days – by law the will is required to be filed with the Court within 30 days of death. Failure to do so can expose the holder of the will to penalties. FILE THE ORIGINAL WILL RIGHT AWAY.

2) Failure to complete every section of initial petition correctly – The California probate petition for probate is a form. It is a very simple form if you have completed them in 500-600 probate cases. However, if you have never done one it’s easy to mess them up. In fact, I have seen many so-called probate attorneys or probate paralegals mess them up in multiple ways.  ANSWER EVERY SECTION!

3) Failure to put creditors on notice in a timely fashion – creditors are entitled to notice at least 60 days before the probate period ends. This include creditors the Executor SHOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT so make a complete list of every possible creditor and make sure the notice gets sent out about half way through the 4 month probate period. This avoids delaying the probate. NOTICE TO ALL POTENTIAL CREDITORS!

4) Failure to file a parent-child exclusion form – If you are selling real estate during probate, and if there is a parent to child transfer, make sure you file the PS-58 parent to child exclusion form BEFORE ANY SALE takes place. Failure to do so can lead to a supplemental tax bill.

5) Failure to complete the final probate petition – there are many statutory notice requirements in a California probate final accounting or waiver of accounting (i.e. the “first and final report.”)  If your attorney doesn’t have an up-to-date form they might not know about Franchise Tax Board or Victims Compensation Board requirements. USE A CURRENT FORM!

The point of this post is to highlight that you should an experienced California probate attorney for your probate case. There are too many things to get caught on. Any of those things can delay probate, cost the estate money, and even cost the Executor money PERSONALLY!  Yes, PERSONAL LIABILITY IS POSSIBLE!  Don’t mess around.  Don’t try to save a few bucks. Get it done right!

Contact our lead probate attorney, John Palley, so we can discuss with you how quickly we can get your probate petition prepared and filed with any probate Court in California.