What Happens During the First Probate Court Hearing in California?

California probate court

Probate court is an extremely confusing process for many. It can also feel incredibly stressful. In this post, we’re going to talk about what you can expect during the first probate court hearing in California. Hopefully, this information will help you better understand what to expect from that day.

Related: 5 Ways to Make the Probate Process Easier

Interested Parties May Attend the Probate Court Hearing

After the probate matter is opened in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death, the first hearing is scheduled. Before the probate court hearing, notices must be sent to heirs and potential heirs to advise them of the death. Written notification must also be placed in certain publications so that interested parties may discover the death occurred. Interested parties, such as creditors and family members, have a right to attend the hearing. They may also send a representative, such as a lawyer, to speak on their behalf.

Testimony Is Taken

The probate court will take testimony from the person who may be named in the will as the executor or by the person who is asking the court to appoint them as the personal representative of the estate. Generally, the testimony focuses on the information listed in the petition filed to open the case. The court will also take any additional information that might make it easier for it to determine the validity of the will (if there is one), what assets should go through probate, and who should act as executor or personal representative.

Related: What Are the Duties of an Estate Administrator in California?

Issuance of the Letters

If the probate court is satisfied with the information it received, it may then issue the Letters Testamentary. This is important because the Letters provide the executor or administrator with the legal authority they need to complete the actions required to finish probating the estate. The administrator or executor should get certified copies of the Letters Testamentary to help them complete their required tasks.

Certain Counties Have Specific Rules for Probate Court Hearings

Outside of the basics you just read about, some counties have specific rules about what takes place during a probate court hearing. Make sure that you ask the clerk of the court to tell you where you may find the local rules so that you may familiarize yourself with anything outside of the basic procedures.

Are You an Heir to an Estate?

If you’re an heir to an estate in California, ProbateSimple may be able to help you collect your inheritance faster. To learn if we can help you, click here to answer a few simple questions. We want to make probate simple!

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