We HIGHLY recommend that you hire an Attorney that specializes in Probates!!!

The Basic Probate Process

If probate is necessary, someone must come forward to start the process. If there’s a will, the executor named in the will should get the ball rolling. If there’s no will, or the person named to serve as executor is not available, then usually a family member asks the court to be appointed as the “administrator” of the estate. Both are now commonly referred to as "Personal Representatives".

The Personal Representative's job will probably last six months to a year. First, the Personal Representative files the will, along with a document called “Petition for Probate,” with the probate court in the county where the deceased person lived. There is a filing fee of about $450; some counties charge a bit more. Some other forms may need to be filed as well, and formal notices given to interested parties. The will, if there is one, must be shown to be valid; usually this is done by having the witnesses sign a sworn statement that’s submitted to the court. When everything is in order, the court issues “Letters Testamentary” or “Letters of Administration,” appointing a Personal Representative and granting that person authority over estate assets.

Once the Personal Representative has this authority, the process of gathering the deceased person’s assets can begin. It’s also the time for the Personal Representative to get organized, set up a filing system so that benefits and bills aren’t overlooked, apply for a taxpayer ID number for the estate, and open an estate bank account. The Personal Representative will need to compile, and file with the court, an inventory and appraisal of all probate property.

If all this sounds overwhelming, remember that it doesn’t all have to be done at once. It does involve a lot of paperwork (and usually, phone calls), but most well-organized and conscientious people can handle it. And the Personal Representative can always get help, from family members or from an attorney who understands the process and can serve as a guide.

Most probates in California are handled under the state’s Independent Administration of Estates Act (IAEA), which allows the Personal Representative take care of most matters without having to get permission from the Probate court. (Cal. Probate Code § 10400 and following.) The Personal Representative can usually sell estate property, pay taxes, and approve or reject claims from creditors without court supervision. Certain other acts—for example, selling real estate—require court approval.

During the probate, it’s the Personal Representatives job to keep all assets safe. For example, a house must be insured and maintained; heirlooms must be safeguarded from theft or damage. The Personal Representative is also responsible for filing tax returns for the deceased person and for the estate.

In California, creditors have four (4) months to come forward with their claims. Many estates don’t receive any formal claims from creditors; instead, the Personal Representative simply pays outstanding bills (for expenses of the final illness, for example). If there isn’t enough money to pay valid claims, however, state law sets out the order in which claims are to be paid from estate assets.

Finally, when all bills and taxes have been paid, the Personal Representative asks the court to close the estate. That’s when the Personal Representative can distribute all the estate assets to the people who inherit them.


Qualified legal counsel is the first step towards making sure that you are on the right track.  We can help you select a local Attorney.


Often there are real estate properties included in the Probate.  When you find this to be the case we want you to know that:


Mike Teer is a California Probate Specialist (CPS) and can help with:


1). Property Maintenance and Preparation

2). Property Management (during the Probate process)

3). Pricing and Marketing (CRMLS and Social Media Marketing)

4). Lawn and other Service Provider

5). Links to qualified assistants for other needed services towards settling the Estate.

6). 4.5% Total Real Estate Commission


You might consider going on the Internet for an Attorney or contact us for Attorneys that specialize in Probate transactions.


Send an email or call us today.  We will provide references and other details of our work.


Thank you,


Mike Teer, Broker

Certified Residential Specialist


951-313-5168 (Direct)


"For Tier One Service - Call Teer One Properties"