LAW OFFICE OF JAMES J. O'BRIEN                                    (415) 954-7131


Use of this web site, including any related  phone, fax or email contact, does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between James J. O'Brien and the user.   Although information on this site relates to legal topics, it is not legal advice or a substitute for retaining your own counsel to provide advice on these topics.

Probate is a court supervised process of transferring legal title of a deceased one's property from his or her estate to beneficiaries.  Probating a Will is often a lengthy and complex process involving creditor claims, researching the decedent's debts, addressing complex will disputes and filing court pleadings within strict time frames.  If a person dies without a Will or Living Trust, there are strict statutory code protocols that heirs need to follow when distributing ones' possessions.  James O'Brien's knowledge and experience in the probate process allows him to smoothly navigate his clients through all the steps of timely and properly probating a will.

Probate Time Frame

California law requires a personal representative to be appointed by the court to take responsibility for the probate process.   The personal representative must complete probate within a one year statutory time frame from the date of appointment unless he or she files estate tax forms.  If estate tax forms are filed the personal representative has 18 months to complete probate.

Probate Process

A personal representative often has many time sensitive legal hurdles to overcome when attempting to shepherd a loved one's estate through the probate process.   If there is a valid Will, the probate process usually includes the following steps:

  • Lodging the Will with the court
  • Prove to the court that the Will is valid
  • Requesting an Order from the court appointing a personal representative to act on behalf of a deceased loved one
  • Identify and inventory property
  • Find estate creditors and address potential creditor disputes
  • Liquidate personal assets and real property to pay creditors, attorneys, accountants, appraiser fees and other administration expenses
  • Petition the court to allow the distribution of assets to beneficiaries
  • Addressing Will contests

If one dies intestate (without a Will or Trust), the heirs need to petition the court for the proper apportionment of the decedent's estate.  Family members will have to address similar probate legal issues when winding up a deceased relative's intestate estate in addition to statutory requirements unique to intestate proceedings.

Mr. O'Brien will work with you and efficiently attack these probate steps and avoid costly probate mistakes that often cannot be unraveled.  Contact him to schedule a free initial consultation.

For a free consultation contact Jim at:

Phone:  (415) 954-7131

Mobile:  (415) 513-7942

Fax:       (415) 523-9420