We Can Help
When a loved one passes away it is always a stressful time and often the time leading up to a death is also filled with great anxiety. We understand the emotional toll this can have on individuals and families, and we are here to help not only with the legal side of matters but also with a compassionate listening ear.
What Is Probate?
The definition of probate is a court procedure which tests whether a will is valid or invalid. If a person dies without a will or trust, that person’s estate is also governed by the probate process. The probate process generally involves collecting a decedent’s assets, paying outstanding debts, paying any necessary taxes, and distributing property to heirs.
The person who takes care of this process is called an executor or administrator. The court oversees the entire process. Most of the courts in California have a special court for probate.
The probate process is strictly governed by statutes that detail each part of the procedure. Because probate can be complicated many persons hire an attorney to do it for them. Although this is not a requirement most people prefer an attorney’s help, and that is something I can help you with.
How Long Does It Take?
Probate can be completed in no less than 6 months; however, many probates take a year or more, and many can last several years to finish.
What Kind of Property Is Subject to Probate?
The probate estate is best defined by what property is not included: property held in joint tenancy, pay-on-death accounts, life insurance proceeds with designated beneficiaries, property held in a trust, community property with right of survivorship, retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries, life estates, social security death and survivor benefits. All other property will need to go through the probate procedure.
Estates which have a gross value of $150,000 or less can be administered by way of a streamlined procedure.