Probate Litigation in California
San Francisco Bay

1225 Alpine Rd.
Suite 201

Walnut Creek, CA
Tel: 925.938.9100
Fax: 925.938.9101



Jay William Jacobus
Trial preparation and representation
in probate litigation
  • Attempted settlement without litigation: All good lawyers try to settle matters without resorting to litigation, if possible, because it is actually less costly, in terms of both time and expense, for the client. This attempt, while a reasonable alternative to litigation, rarely works.
  • Filing of an initial petition: All probate litigation matters start with the filing of a petition which explains the client's position to the Court.
  • Discovery: After the initial hearing of the petition and the response from the opposite side, the Court will order that the parties begin their discovery. The discovery process consists of interrogatories, depositions, demands for production of documents, request for admissions, and other techniques to discover the true facts of the case. In probate litigation, some of these facts are never known, since elements of the situation were only known or understood by the decedent or incompetent person.
  • Mediation: When the discovery process has been completed (or earlier in some cases), the Court will order that the parties mediate their dispute to see if they can resolve the issues without trial. The mediation will beconducted by an independent lawyer or judge who is experienced in probate litigation matters.
  • Trial: If the parties cannot solve their differences through these efforts, the Court will order that the matter be set for trial.
The above process can take several months, or even several years (in some cases) and can be very expensive in terms of attorney fees and costs. Prospective clients should have a clear understanding with their lawyer as to the time, costs, and stress level involved in this undertaking. In many instances, the client who has the greatest endurance during the process will prevail.
This is not to infer that just causes should be abandoned, or that unjust prosecutions should be forfeited. However, probate matters can be a hard fight, with emotions playing a key role in the minds of the parties.

courthouse interior