The Importance of Not Missing Probate Deadlines

In the previous post, we talked about preprobate contests and the rules set forth by The California Probate Code, which governs them. Specifically, the 30 day period for filing a demurrer in response to the preprobate contest summons. Let's highlight why this is important.

In the case of the Estate of Moss, Mr. Moss Sr. passed away and his wife, Lorraine, decided that she would like to have his will probated. She hired an attorney and filed her petition with the court. However, her step-son and step-grandson, did not want the will to be probated. Therefore, they filed a preprobate contest and had her attorney served with the paperwork.

This is where it gets interesting. Apparently, when Lorraine's attorney was served she stated to the process servers that she could not accept service because she wasn't legally able to do so. However, that did not convince the servers and they gave her the papers anyway. It then took the attorney two months to file a demurrer. She claimed she had only just became authorized to accept a summons and was not over the required 30 days to object to the preprobate contest. The probate court agreed and allowed the will to go forward with the probate process.

However, the appeals court said absolutely not. They stated that the attorney had a legal duty to inform Lorrain about the objections filed by the descendants of Mr. Moss. Thus, Lorraine must have been informed and as such missed the deadline to object. The appeals court subsequently reversed the probate court's ruling.

This shows how important it is to have a professional Estate Administration Attorney when dealing with the probate process. Something as simple as missing a filing deadline can mean all the difference.

*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be constituted as professional legal advice.

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