We have already filed the petition, letters, duties and liabilties and order for probate forms and have had the hearing where my friend was appointed Executor but another court date called "order to show cause re status of distribution has been set for 3/20/13. Included with the stamp of this hearing is says "The Petition for final distribution or status report shall be filed not later than 2-15-13". What does this all mean, and are we still supposed to file other forms, and if so which ones? Thank you.
The good news is that by obtaining the order for probate and filing the forms you mentioned, you are off to a great start. The bad news is that the steps you have taken and the forms you have mentioned, are not "all" the forms in a probate case. Getting appointed is just the beginning. There is still the actual probate of the will/estate to be completed, and many, many more court filings still required.
The court dates given to you are how the court tells you when they expect all of the steps to be completed by. If the probate process cannot be completed by that time, the court will want a status report to let them know what is going on with the estate.
To summarize the probate process in California, there are typical steps such as gathering all the assets together (for example by physically going to get the property of the estate that is in the banks and financial institutions), disposition of personal property and belongings, safekeeping of valuables, storage or sale cars or other assets, maintenance of property, etc.. If there is a will, the probate process should conform to the instructions in the will as much as possible. Then there is an appraisal process, making sure the creditors are paid, taking care of taxes, and then accounting for the assets and reporting to the court that the process is complete, and asking the court to order distribution of the remaining assets to the heirs.
Each of these steps need to be reported to the court in proper format, so you will need a recordkeeping/ accounting/bookkeeping system. The reports for each step of the probate process is done by filing the appropriate court document within the required time periods.
It is only after all the required steps are completed that the heirs will receive distribution of the property. The court documentation required is extensive, ranging from appraisals of estate property and inventories, notices to persons and government entities required by law, reports to the court, various petitions, publications of notifications to creditors, preparation of court accountings, and finally the petition for distribution, among other things.
Your attorney should be able to explain each step of the process to you and prepare the court documents for each step. If the executor does not have an attorney, he should know that an executor can be subject to liability to the heirs if their legal duties are not carried out properly. For example, if estate property is not properly preserved, or if the executor fails to comply with probate laws, etc.. So it is highly recommended that a person who has been appointed executor obtain competent legal advice.
The probate process in California can be quite time consuming and complicated. While some simple estates can be probated through the courts without an attorney, in my experience most cannot. Above all, having proper legal advice from a probate attorney will make the process go much faster, help avoid litigation or liability, and provide peace of mind for your friend, and end with a successful close of the probate case.
The comments contained herein are not be be construed as legal advice, and no action should be taken on your case without having a full, in person consultation with a qualified attorney. The general information contained herein cannot be relied upon in making any legal decision or taking any action.
That's an extensive question and more like a consultation meeting than an Avvo question. The OSC is a review of your case by the court as to the status of distributing assets, it sounds like. That is in 2013. It is 2012. It's over a year from now. What they want is to make sure that everything is completed by 2/15/2013.
I would really speak with a lawyer as to how to proceed. You haven't stated any facts in your case and you would want to do it right. California statutes set forth how an attorney and executor are paid from the estate.
Ms. Johns is a lawyer although she is not your lawyer unless you have consulted with her and signed a fee or letter agreement confirming her representation of you. This post does not constitute legal advice and no attorney client relationship results.
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