San Francisco, CA asked in Probate for California

Q: Considering hiring a new attorney. Been waiting 4.5 yrs for a probate resolution. Does this sound out of the ordinary?

My father passed about 5 years ago without leaving a will. My brother and I hired an attorney several months later to handle probate. If I understand the laws of California correctly it would mean that the additional properties my father owned upon passing should have been divided among his spouse and his 2 biological children. His spouses name did not appear on any of his properties however that did not stop her from selling some things upon his death. My brother and I do not have an amicable relationship with our stepmother. she refused to cooperate in any way which forced our hand into hiring an attorney. Here we are 4 1/2 years later and our attorney states that it is still "caught up" in probate, we have been paying her an hourly rate to handle this case. I regularly drive by a duplex my dad owns that sits vacant. My brother and I are frustrated and can't seem to get a straight answer from our attorney. Can we hire a new attorney? What would you suggest? THANK YOU

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN
  • Licensed in California

A: Stating that your case is "caught up" in probate is a very weak explanation. Your attorney should be giving you better status updates than that. At a minimum, you should be getting copies of everything that is filed in the case, whether filed by you or somebody else (such as step mother), so definitely ask for that. If that does not give you a good sense of where you are, then take that stack of papers to another attorney for a second opinion. Be prepared to pay for the second opinion even if you don't hire the new attorney. If you do decide to hire a new attorney, the stack of papers will be extremely helpful. It is what I would want if I were taking over a case.

John B. Palley agrees with this answer

John B. Palley
John B. Palley
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Roseville, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You should most definitely talk to a new attorney. Find a highly experienced California probate attorney. It seems odd to keep a duplex vacant during probate. I would rent it out. Probate should take a year or less unless there are some unique factors/reasons for keeping probate open. Typically 4.5 years would only happen if there is fighting, lawsuits, etc.... Good luck!

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.