There are so many reasons people want to help keep their loved ones out of probate court. The expenses, the public nature of the process, from the newspaper publication, the documents open for anyone to see at the courthouse and the courtroom hearings are the main reasons. Then there is the length of time it takes to go through it. Well, that time it takes to get through the probate process just got extended in more ways than one.

When the petition for probate is initially filed, the first hearing should be set for approximately 30 days ahead. A long time ago the first hearing to be appointed the executor or administrator was set at almost exactly 30 days ahead. Then 30 days turned into about 40 days. Now, in some courts it’s getting closer to 60 days. During this waiting period, there isn’t much a person can do to handle the estate matters. The banks won’t discuss anything with you, the mortgage company won’t talk and nobody else will give any information.

After the administrator is appointed and able to start taking care of what needs to be done, the probate referee is usually needed to appraise the assets. Years ago, we used to turn in the documentation for the probate referee to do their job and get back the results of the work in about 2 weeks. 2 weeks turned into 3 weeks and now currently, we are waiting for a month and longer for them to finish up.

After all the things that needed to get done were finished, a final hearing is set which usually took 30 to 40 days. 40 days began to drag out and most recently, in San Bernardino a final hearing is set for 105 days after the petition was filed. This is for a simple uncontested matter. This means that the beneficiaries will be waiting that much longer to receive what was intended for them.

These delays are a result of the increased filings for probate and conservatorship which is a result of the aging baby boomer population. The court staff is inundated with files to process and can’t handle the flow as they could before. We don’t expect that changes will be made anytime soon.

If you don’t want your family or loved ones to have to go through the extra delay and frustration of probate, you can do what it takes to avoid this nightmare. If you’ve been putting off having your living trust prepared, this might be the motivation you need to do what you’ve been wanting to do for a long time but haven’t.

We are here to prepare a living trust to avoid probate. The process to have one set up is easier than you think and your beneficiaries will be spared so much more.