Can I Appeal a California Adverse Probate Court Decision?

Navigating California Estate Planning: What Happens to Your Bank Account After You Pass Away?


When faced with an unfavorable decision from a California probate court, it is essential to know that you have the right to appeal. In this blog post, we explore the process of appealing an adverse probate court decision and shed light on key aspects to consider. It is crucial to understand that an appeal does not necessarily challenge every aspect of the probate court’s final order. Instead, specific types of orders issued by the probate court can be appealed, such as those concerning the sale of estate property, acts of a fiduciary, payment of debts or claims, and property distribution.

Initiating the Appeal:

To initiate the appeal process, a Notice of Appeal must be filed with the appropriate California Court of Appeals. For example, in Irvine, appeals are typically filed with the Court of Appeals for the Fourth District, Third Division, which covers Orange County. It is important to act swiftly as there are statutory deadlines to be met. The Notice of Appeal formally moves the case from the probate court to the Court of Appeals.

Grounds for Appeal:

An appeal can be filed only if there is an error made by the probate judge in procedure, interpretation of the law, or its application to the facts. To assess the merits of an appeal, it is crucial to seek assistance from experienced California estate attorneys, such as the professionals at Guardian Litigation Group. They can provide valuable guidance in evaluating the grounds for appeal. It is essential to note that the Court of Appeals does not take or hear evidence. Instead, their decisions are based on the record made at the trial level, as well as written briefs and supporting evidentiary documents submitted by the litigants’ attorneys.

The Appellate Process:

Once the Notice of Appeal is filed and shared with all involved litigants, the next step is to prepare an appellate brief to present the reasons for the appeal. This brief includes a copy of the order being appealed, references to relevant evidence and legal precedents, and arguments supporting the request for reversal or modification of the order. The other litigants will have an opportunity to file their own briefs in response, and the appellant may file a final reply brief. Subsequently, the Court of Appeals will schedule an oral argument to allow the attorneys to present their case. Finally, the Court of Appeals will issue its decision.

Outcomes of the Appeal:

If the Court of Appeals agrees with the arguments presented in the appeal, the probate court’s order may be reversed, either in part or in whole. In such cases, the issue or the entire case is typically returned to the probate court for further proceedings at the trial level. However, if the Court of Appeals affirms the probate court’s order, the decision stands, and no further proceedings are required.

Further Appeal Options:

In certain circumstances, it is possible to pursue a second level of appeal by requesting that the California Supreme Court accepts an appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeals. However, it is important to note that such requests are rarely granted.


The appeal process in probate court cases requires considerable time and effort. It typically takes at least six to nine months or longer to complete the appeal to the Court of Appeals. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to appeal an adverse probate court decision, it is crucial to seek guidance from experienced professionals who specialize in California estate law. Contact Guardian Litigation Group, and our dedicated team of attorneys will provide the expertise and support needed to navigate the complexities of the appeal process.

Contact Our Experienced Irvine, CA Estate Planning Attorneys

For more information, contact the Irvine, California estate planning attorneys at Guardian Litigation Group. Our mission is to provide unparalleled estate planning legal services for our clients. We can be reached via our contact page or by phone at (949) 444-5474. We are located in Irvine, California.