When a loved one passes away, it is up to the surviving family members to ensure that the estate is properly taken care of. All debts must be paid, and all assets must be distributed in order to begin the probate process. Although this is a time of grieving, it is important to take these steps in a timely manner. Contact our knowledgeable California estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman today.
What is probate in California?
Probate is the judicial process that wraps up a person’s affairs after they pass away. This includes gathering assets, paying debts, and then transferring the remaining property and assets to the heirs or beneficiaries of the decedent. An executor (when someone is nominated in the will) or an administrator (when there is no will or no one named in the will) 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. This process can take anywhere from 9 months to a year and a half, and in some cases, if there are complexities, it could take even longer.
Will I need to go to probate court?
In order to be authorized to be 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 with the court to be authorized as the personal representative of the estate is the start of the probate process. After that, you will proceed through a number of steps that may be case-specific. A court must authorize you in order for you to distribute assets in the estate in addition to every payment made during the probate process. You will be responsible for notifying potential creditors to claim alleged money due and must also notify other tax and government agencies of the death of the decedent. After all of the decedent’s affairs are resolved, you will then be able to file a petition and request to be authorized to distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries or heirs.
Is there an easier way?
Some estates qualify for a streamlined procedure if a descendent’s probate estate does not include real property and if the total value of their property is less than $150,000. If this is the case, a simplified version may be available. A simplified procedure can be best determined by an experienced probate attorney. If you have questions about probate law or believe you may qualify as a simplified procedure, contact our firm for a consultation.
Contact our Firm
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most. Do not delay. Estate planning is a more urgent matter than you may think. You never know what the future holds. Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.