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originallawyer, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 855
Experience:  9+ years of experience in divorce, custody battles and mediation.
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I am trying to figure out if I have to fly to CA to get a

Customer Question

I am trying to figure out if I have to fly to CA to get a letter of Testamentary for my father's estate or if I can do that from the state I live currently live.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: Sort of. I spoke with the attorney that made his will. And he mentioned that I might need a Small Estate Affidavit. I just spoke to one of the banks my father used and they said I needed a Letter of Testamentary. Im still trying to figure out what that is exactly.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  originallawyer replied 1 year ago.

If your father passed away in CA, you will need to go through the probate court that is in the county he lived in. Each state has different laws for probate, so you can't go through your own state. Depending on the Judge, you may not need to actually attend a hearing in person, however. I would start contacting probate attorneys where your father lived and find out what the Judges there allow. You might be allowed to have a phone hearing, or their might not be the need for a hearing at all.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
His (Will) attorney said that his estate is small enough that we don't have to go through probate, but it sounds like I will still have to go through probate anyway
Expert:  originallawyer replied 1 year ago.

Well, you would still need to go through the probate court to get your letters, but not necessarily the entire long process of probating the will.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What is the difference between a small estate affidavit and Letters of Testimony?
Expert:  originallawyer replied 1 year ago.

The affidavit tells the court the size of the estate and how it qualifies for the small estate process. The Judge will then sign an order giving you what you need to proceed. This may be called Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. The small estate process is just faster because the estate is smaller. It can also be used when there is no will.

You can also probate the will by going through the full probate process which would also give you Letters Testamentary. If there is no will and the estate is bigger than the small estate process allows, it becomes more complicated.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok Thank you
Expert:  originallawyer replied 1 year ago.

You are welcome!

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