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After a person passes away in California, his or her estate will enter into the probate process, where claims against the estate are handled. Probate claims can arise for any number of reasons from inheritance disputes to late wills that may have been executed due to undue influence by a beneficiary. Creditors of the deceased individual may also have a reason to file a claim once that person’s estate has entered probate.

The period for claiming a probate claim generally begins once the estate has formally entered the probate process. The court will appoint a personal representative of the estate, sometimes the named executor of the will or a separate party named by the court. Once the personal representative is sworn in, he or she will file a death notice in a widely circulated local newspaper in order to alert potential claimants that the estate has entered probate. Once this period has begun, a claim can be filed with the court that is handling the estate. This court will generally be located where the person who passed away lived, and the claim will need to be filed there regardless of the person who is submitting it.

A statement of claim or related document can be filed with the court in order to begin a probate claim. This document will need to contain details related to the claim, including the deceased and claimant’s names, the claimant’s address, the nature of the claim and the amount of money being claimed from the estate.

People who are concerned that their inheritance has been stolen or have another monetary claim against the estate of a recently deceased person can work with a probate litigation attorney to pursue their claim. A lawyer can work through the probate process in order to advocate for a valid claim and help someone obtain the funds to which he or she is entitled.