An administrator or other “interested party” can file a petition on behalf of a decedent “where the decedent died having a claim to real or personal property, title to or possession of which is held by another” (Prob. Code § 850(a)(2)(D)). In addition, a third party can make an § 850 claim “where the decedent died in possession of, or holding title to, real or personal property, and the property or some interest therein is claimed to belong to another.” (Prob. Code § 850(a)(2)(C).)
In order to bring a valid § 850 claim the Petitioner must: (1) establish that a claim existed at the time of death (Estate of Linnick (1985) 171 Cal.3d 752, 760) and (2) state “facts upon which the claim is based.” (Prob. Code § 850(a)(2)(B).)
At least 30 days prior to the date of the hearing, the Petitioner must personally serve a Notice of Petition on all of the followings persons (if applicable): the personal representative, conservator, guardian, or trustee as appropriate and any party claiming an interest in the property in dispute. (Prob. Code §§ 851(a)(1&2).) The court must grant a continuance for a “reasonable time” if any interested party requests time for filing a response to the petition or for discovery proceedings. (Prob. Code § 852.) However, the probate court may deny a request to continue the hearing if a party fails to promptly request an extension. (Prob. Code § 852.)
Moreover, an interested person “may appear and make a response or objection at or before the hearing.”(Prob. Code § 1043, subd. (a).) The court has discretion to “either hear and determine the response or objection at the hearing, or grant a continuance for the purpose of allowing a response or objection to be made in writing.” (Prob. Code § 1043, subd. (b).) Note that a party is not entitled to a jury trial in Probate Code § 850 hearings. (Prob. Code § 825.)
At the time of the hearing, “if the court is satisfied that a conveyance, transfer, or other order should be made, the court shall make an order . . . directing execution of a conveyance or transfer to the person entitle thereto, or granting other appropriate relief.” (Cal. Prob. Code § 856.) Accordingly, “the order is . . . evidence of the correctness of the probate proceedings and of the authority of the personal representative or other fiduciary or other person to make the conveyance or transfer.” (Cal. Prob. Code § 857.) Thereafter, title must immediately be transferred in accordance with the terms of the order and the transferee is entitled immediate possession of the property. (Cal. Prob. Code § 857 (b).) The probate can may award twice the value of the property in dispute where it is determined that a party acted “by use of undue influence in bath faith or through the commission of elder of dependent financial abuse.” (Cal. Prob. Code § 859.)
For assistance with your Probate Code § 850 petition or opposing a Probate Code § 850 petition, please do not hesitate to contact Schorr-Law at 310-954-1877, firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling in the contact form on the right hand side of this page.