Probate administration is initiated by filing a Petition for Probate with
the superior court. The petition asks the court to appoint a personal
representative and admit decedent's will, if any, to probate. It identifies
decedent's heirs and other interested parties, and gives an estimated
value of the assets to be probated. Once appointed, the personal representative
then takes control of all of decedent's property, has the assets appraised,
pays or settles decedent's debts, pursues or defends any claims, pays
all attorney's fees and other administrative expenses, and then makes final
distribution of decedent's assets to the heirs or beneficiaries. When
appropriate, the personal representative may sell or liquidate decedent's
property to pay debts or administrative expenses, or to carry-out distributions.
The entire probate process takes no less than six (6) months to complete.
It is not uncommon for a probate to last a year or more. The length of
the proceedings depend on numerous factors and there is really no way
to predict exactly how long a given case will take. In some instances,
summary or expedited procedures may be available, which take less time
and involve less fees and expenses.