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How long does probate take?

Victorville, CA |

Is there a set time, or is it the circumstances that decide? What is the quickest time it can be done in? Thank you!

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Attorney answers 3


Years ago, I would say that a probate could be completed within a year and possibly in slightly under a year. However, due to cut backs over the years, the time has increased significantly. Every document submitted for hearing must be approved by the Probate Attorney at the court who is assigned to that case. They used to be able to let you know well in advance of a hearing what, if anything, needed to be added, corrected or addressed in your paperwork. This allowed you time to supplement the court's file before the hearing such that the matter would be approved or was ready for hearing. Now, you are lucky if you find out about such things the afternoon before the hearing. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to address such things before the scheduled hearing. Thus, the matter gets continued. As previously stated, this happens each and every time an issue requires a court hearing AND can happen multiple times on the paperwork submitted for each hearing.

As a result, the cases often take close to two years to complete at this time. I therefore suggest that you retain well qualified counsel to handle the matter so that the probate attorneys find nothing that requires such continuances. Under those circumstances, the case can still be closed in a year.

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You didn't mention in what state the probate is taking place. In Colorado, the average is between 9-24 months. The absolute quickest it can be completed is six months, but it's tough to make it happen that quickly.

There are a number of factors that determine how quickly a probate might be completed, including the type of assets, the amount of hassle there is between family members and other beneficiaries, the location of the real estate (out of state real estate requires an extra probate in that state). In addition, each practical step taken to administer an estate seems like it should only take ___ days/weeks/months but with every practical obstacle (a newspaper that fails to publish notice to creditors as directed, a bank that gives the Executor a hard time, etc.) it takes longer than it "should."

All the best,


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Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


In California, the quickest a probate can be completed is roughly 6 months. But the courts are so backed up now that sometimes you can't even get an initial hearing date for almost 3 months (Santa Clara's first available hearing date for probates is the middle of May!). As the other attorneys indicated, most probates take at least a year; and sometimes they take considerably longer.

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.