When an individual dies in the state of California, his or her estate will typically pass through a procedure known as “probate.” Because this procedure can be complicated and lengthy, it is important to consult a qualified attorney who has experience with these cases.
About Probate in California
Probate is a legal process used to validate a deceased person’s will, pay his or her debts and distribute his or her property to heirs. Probate typically begins when the deceased individual’s will is submitted to the court for review. At this time, the court will determine whether to accept or reject the will. It will also appoint an individual to act as administrator for the estate.
Once the administrator has been appointed, he or she will be responsible for overseeing the probate process. During the process, the deceased person’s creditors will be given the opportunity to file claims against the estate. These debts will be paid, and the remainder of the deceased person’s assets will be distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the will. If no will was left behind, assets will be distributed based on the guidelines established by state law.
Keep in mind that some property may not pass through probate. For example, property held in a trust or owned in joint tenancy will pass directly to its new owner without going through probate. Accounts that have payable-on-death designations are also exempt from the probate process in California.
Hiring an Attorney
If you have been named as an executor or administrator in a deceased person’s will, you should contact a probate attorney for assistance as soon as possible. It may also be wise to contact a probate attorney if you are involved in a dispute regarding a probated estate or if you simply have questions or concerns about the probate process.
Barbara D. Hannon understands how the probate process works in California. She has many years of experience aiding her clients navigate the probate process, and she knows how to help you complete the process as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you are involved in a probated estate and you think you may need legal advice or representation, please contact Hannon Law Office today to schedule a consultation or to learn more.