Phone: (650) 340-7100

Probate and Probate Litigation


At the Law Offices of Wayne A. McFadden, we realize that losing a loved one is difficult enough and probating the will can make it even more stressful. Probating a will can cause conflict and prolong the grieving process. Our Probate Attorneys in San Mateo can help you probate a will in a timely manner and help you avoid complications or problems that can draw out the probate process.

Probate contests and will contests

A contested will is when someone entitled to receive under the will disputes the validity of the will. A contested probate is when someone challenges the distribution of the assets of the estate or the appointment of the executor.

These contests can be brought on the following grounds:

• Documents falsified or forged

• Decedent was under the extreme influence of someone else

• The original documents were destroyed or tampered with

• The decedent was not in a state of mind to legally execute a document

The person bringing the claim must prove their accusations before the estate has to defend the validity of the will. Probate attorneys can help you effectively deal with a will or probate contest in a timely manner.

Consequences of a probate or will contest

Probating a will in San Mateo County on average will take nine months to one year. But a will contest can drag the probate process on for years. In addition to adding months or years to a probate, a will contest can cost the estate a considerable amount of money. Some disputes have consumed all or most of an estate, which is why it is in the best interest of everyone to resolve difficulties as quickly and peacefully as possible. Working with a San Mateo probate litigation attorney can help avoid any potential pitfalls.

At the Law Offices of Wayne A. McFadden, a qualified Probate Lawyer can assist the family and those contesting the will in coming to an agreement much faster than if the family were left to deal with the contest alone.

If a will is found to be invalid, the assets of the estate are distributed as though a will was never executed. This distribution may not align with the wishes of the decedent. Working with our probate Law firm in San Mateo can help ensure that the wishes of your loved one are fulfilled.

Our San Mateo Probate Attorneys have experience handling any kind of issue or complication that can arise during probate. This can include having to file back tax returns, locating assets in other states and locating family members who may be entitled to inherit under the will. If someone is entitled to recieve a gift under the will and is not notified, a claim can arise that can cost the estate a lot of money and take a long time to resolve.

Probating a will

Probating a will can be a very complex and time consuming task. Hiring a skilled Probate Attorney like Wayne A. McFadden is not a requirement under the law but can make the probate process much easier, cheaper and quicker. Usually the family member or friend that has been appointed as the representative or executor of the estate does not have the experience with probating a will. Probate attorneys know how to handle the paperwork, filings and procedures involved with efficiently probating a will and can provide significant help with all of the taxes and returns that must be filed.

How to probate a will in San Mateo

In San Mateo, probating a will begins with a legal request or petition to open the estate. A hearing is held several weeks after the petition is filed. During the hearing, the validity of the will is determined and the executor is appointed. The court will issue written authority to the executor to probate the will.

Every person who is named in the will must be given notice of the death and the probate of the will. The notice must also be published in a newspaper where the decedent lived to give creditors notice. Notice is required because it informs all interested parties and gives them an opportunity to object to the will.

All of the assets of the decedent must be collected and all of the debts paid. This part can get complicated if the decedent had a lot of creditors, assets in different states or if assets such as a house have to be sold or if the decedent did not file all of their tax returns. In addition to any unfiled returns of the decedent, the executor must also file the tax return for the estate.

After all debts and taxes have been paid, the executor must file a report with the court. This report includes all payments made and all income received on behalf of the estate. After the report is filed with the court, a hearing is held and the judge signs an order allowing the executor to distribute the assets under the will.

The procedural requirements for probate in San Mateo are very complex. If the executor does not comply with each guideline, the court may not accept the paperwork or a hearing can be postponed for weeks. On average, the San Mateo wills and probate process wil take nine months to one year. However, trying to probate a will without the assistance of a probate attorney can prolong this process by weeks, months or even years. Understanding legal wills in San Mateo gives us the ability to look at your case from a purely legal standpoint.

Contact us (650) 340-7100: If you have recently lost a loved one or need assistance probating a will, contact our San Mateo office and speak with an experienced Probate and Wills Attorney.