There are five basic instances that you may have to go to Los Angeles Superior Probate Court: 1. To file a petition for probate, 2. To attend your probate hearing, 3. To clear probate notes for your petition to be approved, 4. To update the probate court judge on the status of your administration, and 5. To close your probate case. Here’s how it works.
Los Angeles Probate Court Basics
To be clear, Los Angeles Probate Court is actually the Probate Division of Los Angeles Superior Court. There are two probate courthouse locations: 1) Downtown LA: 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles CA 90012, and 2) Antelope Valley: 42011 4th Street West, Lancaster CA 93534.
First off, you will probably e-file your Petition for Probate, and be given a court hearing date. This hearing date is usually about 70 days from the day you submit your Petition for Probate. Prior to going to your probate hearing, you will need to publish the probate hearing in the decedent’s local newspaper and give notice of the petition to the heirs.
Also, prior to your probate hearing date, you should check the LASC probate notes online. Using your case number, you can see any probate notes assigned to your case by the probate examiner. What is a probate note? It’s a request for more information or a correction needed on your petition to probate. Your petition cannot be approved until all notes are cleared.
Once your petition is approved, you will submit your bond, get your letters of administration, and begin the administration process, including paying the decedent’s debts, getting real estate appraised, and distributing assets according to the will (if one exists.)
In order to distribute all the assets to all the beneficiaries and heirs, you will need to return to probate court and submit your petition for final distribution. Upon the court approving your petition for final distribution you can distribute the assets. Once you do you can submit the receipts and close your probate case.
5 times you may need to go to Los Angeles Probate Court
Probate is a long process, and along the way you will need to visit a Los Angeles Probate Courthouse. If you’re working with a probate attorney, they likely will be able to go to court in your stead.
Filing a petition for probate
The Los Angeles Probate court allows you to e-file your Petition for Probate, which allows you to avoid having to go to probate court. However, in some situations you may have to have your Petition for Probate documents delivered by hand–you can do this yourself, or use a document delivery service. If you’re working with a probate attorney, they will handle the filing.
Attending your probate hearing
Your probate hearing will usually be scheduled 70 days after you file for probate. You must attend this hearing, either in-person or telephonically via courtcall. After you file your probate petition but prior to the hearing, you must service the heirs and beneficiaries with the probate petition and publish the notice of administration in the decedent’s local newspaper. (This is required by law to notify anyone who may dispute your petition so they can attend the hearing.)
Clearing probate notes
After reviewing your petition, the court’s probate examiner may ask for additional information, or corrections to answers provided in your petition. These are called “probate notes”. Probate notes will be posted to the LASC website usually 24-72 hours prior to your hearing. You have the opportunity to address these probate notes by submitting a supplement to your petition prior to your hearing. Doing so increases your chances of having your petition approved at your hearing. If you don’t clear these notes beforehand, you can expect to have the court continue your hearing (e.g., reschedule) in order to give you another opportunity clear those notes. The court will only continue your hearing so many times before it will deny your petition without prejudice, which means you will have to start all over. Working with a probate attorney will help you avoid unnecessary probate notes, and speed up the probate process–so you get your inheritance faster.
Updating the probate court judge on the status of your administration
The court will set deadlines by when you will need to complete certain tasks and file certain documents, namely accountings and the petition for final distribution. The purpose of these hearings is largely administrative in nature. The court schedules these hearings to make sure you are moving the administration forward towards closure.
Petition for Final Distribution, Accounting and Closing your probate case
At the end of the entire probate process, after you have marshaled all of the assets, paid creditors, and determined the heirs and beneficiaries to whom to distribute assets (e.g., inheritances), you will need to file your final petition and petition for final distribution, advising the court that you have completed the administration and are prepared to distribute the estate assets to the heirs and beneficiaries. After the court grants your petition for final distribution you may distribute the assets, and once you receive receipts for those distributions and file those receipts with the probate court the court will close your case.
What is e-filing?
Great question. You can e-file your Petition for Probate at the Los Angeles Superior Court. This means you don’t have to deliver petition for probate documents to a Los Angeles Probate Court House by hand, or via a document delivery service. In most cases, you or your probate attorney will be able to e-file your petition. In some cases, an in-person delivery of paper documents is still required. If so required, your probate attorney will handle this for you.
What is a probate examiner?
There are multiple probate examiners at both Los Angeles probate court house locations. A probate examiner will individually review a petition for probate filing, ensuring information is accurately and clearly presented, and all required information is included. If they determine there is some deficiency, they will request the correction or additional information via a probate note. Many petition filings will result in multiple probate notes that must be “cleared” before the probate court will approve the petition for probate.
How to clear probate notes?
Clearing a probate note requires updating or supplementing the information on the petition. Typically, probate notes are posted online at least 24-72 hours prior to a probate hearing. You may check the LASC website for these notes, or your probate attorney will. If the probate notes are cleared prior to the hearing, then your petition may be approved. If not, then you will have to return to court for another hearing and you will need to clear the notes in that intervening period.
“Do I have to go to Probate Court?”
Yes. You are required to attend your probate hearing. However, you may be able to attend the hearing telephonically via courtcall if you cannot attend in person. And if you work with a probate attorney he or she will handle the hearing for you. Working with a probate attorney will reduce your trips to probate court significantly.
Have questions about probate or working with a probate attorney?
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