California law requires the personal representative to complete the probateThe legal proceeding by which a decedent’s testamentary document, such as a will, is proven to be valid, and the subsequent procedure of administering the decedent’s estate. process within 12 to 18 months. If they aren’t able to do so for some reason, then the personal representative must file a status report explaining what still needs to be done and how long it is expected to take. There are other reasons the process might drag out, for example, if there is a contestTo challenge the validity of an unfavorable claim through court proceedings. about the validity of a willA legal document which expresses a person’s final wishes about what happens to their property after they pass away, often specifically identifying intended beneficiaries for specific items of property., if it is difficult to locate beneficiaries, or if the size and complexity of the estateThe assets and liabilities left behind by a decedent. requires additional time.