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.
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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.
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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.
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