Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

How long after death can we file for probate?

It has been nearly 2.5 years since my mother passed away and did not leave a will. My sister and I are trying to make decisions regarding her house but since neither of us were appointed executor of her estate, we were told that the house needs to go into probate and that it could take from 6 months to a year or longer, but that we have to continue to pay the mortgage while the house is in probate. We both have our own homes and cannot afford to pay the mortgage on mom's house so we have just done nothing with it since she passed. Now the title company is contacting us and would like to make arrangements but needs proper documentation showing that we can make decisions on her behalf. Can we still go through probate to sell our mother's home even after 2.5 years, and if we get a lawyer can he/she help us get paperwork that we could present to the title company in order to make these decisions on my mother's house?? One other problem, the title co. needs these documents by Oct.1 and that is in 4 days. Are we screwed?

Asked on 9/27/07, 8:32 am

4 Answers from Attorneys

David Baker Law Offices of David R. Baker

How long after death can we file for probate?

There is no time limit on filing for probate. The problem is the Court's calendar; in some counties such as Contra Costa in California, there is almost a two month delay between the filing of the paperwork and the actual court hearing and court order that allows you to deal with your mother's property. However, more delay is not helpful. If you need assistance, please contact me.

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Answered on 9/27/07, 11:05 am

Mitchell Roth MW Roth, Professional Law Corporation

Re: How long after death can we file for probate?

As I understand your question, the house is in foreclosure, and the time to reinstate the loan, or pay it off to avoid sale is coming fast, i.e. October 1. If I have that right, here is my answer, and I am sorry if it may seem a bit harsh.

You may be screwed as the right to foreclose the mortgage has nothing to do with probate. It is unfathomable to me how many of us go through life with profound ignorance of what happens to property after death. If your mom did not have a will, her assets can only be transfered through a probate proceeding. Anyone in interested in the estate can file for letters of administration. If there is serious equity in the house you should consisder getting a line of credit between the two of you that will enable you to buy the property at a foreclosure sale. Or better yet, pay to reinstate the loan, keep making the mortgage payments, while you file a probate and sell the property in probate. Otherwise, kiss your inheritance goodbye.

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Answered on 9/27/07, 12:19 pm
Kai Wessels, Esq. Wessels Law Firm

Re: How long after death can we file for probate?

There is no time limit to probate an estate, though of course the sooner the better Probate is done even if there is no will, and most likely either of you can be the probate administrator.

You need to see an attorney immediately in order to figure out what time limits you are up against.

If I can be of assistance, please contact me.


Kai H. Wessels, Esq.

(Tel. 877-Wessels)

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Answered on 9/27/07, 1:22 pm
John Palley Meissner, Joseph & Palley, Inc.

Re: How long after death can we file for probate?

Call my office and ask for my cell phone as I don't think I can type it here. I will explain on the phone. I will try to type my cell phone also. I can probably help you. nine-1-six, 84nine-6785. Good luck.

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Answered on 9/27/07, 2:15 pm

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