There are times when probate cannot be avoided. If your loved one dies without a will or trust, their estate may have to be handled by a probate court in accordance with California probate law. At the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman, we represent executors, administrators, beneficiaries, and other interested parties in probate matters. We handle probate matters in all counties throughout California. If you need an experienced probate attorney to represent an estate, administrator, executor, or beneficiary, contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman for a consultation.
What Is Probate?
Probate means that there is a court involved in the process of wrapping up a decedent’s affairs, including gathering assets, paying debts, and ultimately transferring the remaining property to the beneficiaries or heirs of the deceased person. An executor (when someone is nominated in the will) or an administrator (when there is no will or no one named in the will who can handle the duties of the personal representative must be confirmed by the court before being legally authorized to represent the estate, collect assets, pay debts and expenses, and distribute assets to beneficiaries. The process is lengthy, often between 9 months to 1.5 years or more.
Do I need to go to probate court in CA?
In order to be authorized to act as an executor or administrator, a Petition must be filed with the Court and the Court must confirm your authority to act for the estate. Your appointment as the personal representative of the estate starts the process of probate. You must then proceed through a number of set steps and others that are case-specific. You are not authorized to distribute assets of the estate to the beneficiaries or heirs until you have specific court authority to do so. You will be required to account for all assets in the estate and all money received and every payment made during the probate process. You will need to notify potential creditors of the right to make a claim for monies alleged due and must notify other tax and governmental agencies of the death of the decedent. If real or personal property must be sold there are specific procedures that guide how you are to do this as well. Only after all of the decedent’s affairs are resolved are you able to file a petition with the court and request that you be authorized to distribute the remaining asset to the heirs or beneficiaries.
Isn’t there a simpler way?
Some estates qualify for a streamlined procedure. For example, if the decedent’s probate estate does not include any real property and if the total value of all personal property subject to probate is less than $150,000, then there is a simplified process that may be available. Similarly, if the decedent was married at the time of death and all property was held as community property with the surviving spouse, there also may be a simplified procedure. Whether or not a simplified procedure exists is best determined by a probate attorney familiar with the specific rules.
Closing an estate in California
When all probate matters are concluded, taxes are paid an estate may be closed. The personal representative files a Petition for Final Distribution, usually accompanied by an accounting of all monetary transactions, that is all monies received and disbursed and including a summary of all actions taken during the time the probate was ongoing. This is a very detailed document and also states the names of the heirs and beneficiaries and the assets they are to receive. Only after the judge issues an order for Final Distribution is the personal representative able to distribute the assets in the estate and proceed to close it. Once all duties are completed, the personal representative requests the court discharge the personal representative from further duties. Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman. With over 35 years of experience, The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman is ready to guide individuals and families through the probate process and advice on any simplified procedures that may be available. It is important to discuss the steps involved with an attorney. Our firm understands the role and rights of all parties going through probate. If you are in need of effective legal services concerning a probate matter, contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman.
Contact a probate attorney at our firm today
The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman has been a legal resource to California for over 30 years. If you are involved in the probate process as an administrator or beneficiary, contact our firm to discuss your legal matter. You deserve excellent legal services and our firm would be honored to serve your needs. To schedule a consultation, contact our The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman today.