In the state of California, probate proceedings take place in the Superior Court for the county in which the deceased lived. Proceeds normally take a minimum of eight months, but can sometimes go on for long as several years.
The person who has been named as executor in the will must file a petition with the Superior Court to ask that he or she be appointed executor. If no will exists, the state Probate Code offers a list of people who have property to petition the Court to become administrator. The will is filed with the petition, and notices are then sent to relatives and/or name heirs to inform them that a hearing will be held. If there is any objection to the petition or the validity of the will is challenged, those problems will be resolved in at the hearing. From time to time a challenge is successful and a will is not upheld, or another person is chosen as administrator. On the whole, however, no objections arise and the petition is granted.
The executor will then make an inventory of estate assets, locate any creditors, pay bills, file necessary tax returns, and perform any other duties required in the management of the estate’s assets. Once all duties are completed by the executor, another petition is filed with the Court, requesting that the estate be distributed to the named heirs. If the Court grants the petition, the assets are then distributed to the heirs and final taxes are filed, thus completing the administering of the estate.