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How long does it take for the court to issue letters after our probate hearing?

Atascadero, CA |

I just filed a petition for probate and the hearing is not until Dec 13th 2012. I need to get something to the reverse mortgage company as soon as possible before they foreclose. I was told I could ask for a special letter of administration detailing the concern I am having. Should I wait for the hearing or submit a document now asking for a special letter? This is a CA case. My parents had no will or trust and I am doing this pro per to the best of my ability.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Bay Area courts generally can issue Orders and Letters on the same day as the hearing. This is not true in larger counties, such as Los Angeles, where the delay is a couple of weeks. Please note that if the court requires you to be bonded, you will need to hire an attorney, because bond companies will not work with pro pers. If a bond is required, you will not obtain Letters until you post the bond.

    The process for obtaining Special Letters is called an ex parte hearing. Each court has a different ex parte process that you can learn about in your court's Local Rules. I also recommend that you use Nolo's California Probate book to help you survive this process.

    While I have seen some pro pers make it through the probate system, it is not the norm. Usually people start the process, get bogged down, stop sleeping because they get so stressed out, and then hire an attorney to help. The link below gives advice on how to minimize probate costs, including how to hire a probate attorney.

    Good Luck!

    The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.


  2. Mr. Goodson is correct on all counts. You're already running into problems and the probate is just getting started. If you need to get something to the reverse mortgage company "as soon as possible before they foreclose", you really can't afford to wait until the hearing in December.

    You need to decide whether you'd rather lose the house (or at least risk losing it), try to do it yourself, or pay an expert to do the job correctly.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.


  3. My colleagues are correct in their analysis of your situation. It seems as though you have been keeping your head above water during this process, but it is very easy to get bogged down in the process. Acting in pro per is admirable so long as you are not assuming too much risk. From the sound of your situation, the risks (specifically the foreclosure) outweigh the costs of retaining counsel for assistance. You should consider, at least, consulting with local counsel for guidance.

    When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. 

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