What Steps Are Involved in the Probate Process?

probate process

The probate process can seem intimidating, but it really is not all that bad if you know what to expect and you prepare. Your loved one’s estate needs to be dealt with, but you do not want to make mistakes that can leave you financially vulnerable later on. That is why having a Woodland Hills probate attorney on your side can be a good idea.

When Does the Probate Process Begin?

The probate process begins once your loved one has passed away and you have filed a petition with the California Superior Court in the county they lived in. Then a hearing should be scheduled within 30 days or so. Notifications also have to be mailed out to anyone in the will and published in the local paper at least three times.

If there is a will, the court will make sure that it is legitimate and legally binding. The executor can gather all assets of the estate and make sure that everything is accounted for. Estate tax is paid, if necessary, and then the estate can be distributed.

Can Creditors Claim Assets During the Probate Process?

People in the will receive notice about the probate process, and so do potential creditors. They have the chance to come forward and make claims on the estate. If their claims are legitimate, creditors can get their share of the estate before assets are distributed to any beneficiaries.

What Happens if the Deceased Has No Will?

When the decedent has no will, that can affect the probate process in a few ways. There may not be an executor of the estate selected, so the court will be forced to pick and appoint a personal representative for the deceased. That person will be in charge of gathering all of the assets and clearing up any misunderstandings that could affect the estate.

Who ends up receiving your loved one’s assets can also change if there is no will. Someone writing a will can tell you who should have their assets and they can pass things down to more distant relatives, friends, or charities. If their estate ends up in probate court without a will, the decedent’s wishes do not matter. Assets get passed down to the closest family members per California’s intestate succession laws.

Usually, this means that a spouse or surviving children receive the entire estate, but close family members like siblings or parents could end up being the main beneficiaries if there are no children and no spouse. In cases where there are children and a living spouse, the property will be split up among them.

Talk to Our Estate Planning Lawyers Today

If you have any questions about estate planning or the probate process, contact the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman. Our attorneys can handle all aspects of estate planning, including the preparation of a legally binding will. Contact our law firm and learn more about how we can assist you.

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