When a loved one passes away without a Trust, their estate must unfortunately go through the probate process, which must be overseen. This process can be complicated and timely, and can be made even worse if a dispute arises.
Here at Hayes Law Firm, we are more than encourage you to reach out about any Probate questions that may arise. We are committed to helping you through the Probate Process at any point. Our experienced attorney is more than capable enough to guide you whether you are the Representative of the estate, a beneficiary or heir, or even a creditor with a claim against the estate.
California Probate Laws
If your loved one lived in California before his/her death, it’s important that you acquire a fundamental understanding of the laws and procedures specific to the state. We encourage you to contact us with any questions that may arise.
California Intestate Succession Laws
If your loved one passed without executing a Last Will and Testament, he/she is said to have died “intestate.” The estate left behind is considered a “testate” estate. The provisions in the decadent’s will or other estate planning documents will determine what happens during the probate process.
However, what happens to a testate is determined using CA’s laws of intestate succession. Usually, a testate goes to the decadent’s family (spouse or children) if possible. However, if the decadent didn’t leave behind any immediate family, the intestate succession laws determine that the testate will go to more distant family (siblings, parents, etc.)
Steps in California Probate Process
- Filing a petition to initiate probate. The request will need to be filed in the State where the deceased person lived. You will need to file forms including the will (if one exists) and the death certificate. The court will then schedule a hearing.
- Give notice. A notice will need to be mailed explaining that the estate is in probate to all beneficiaries and heirs.
- Inventory assets. Collect, inventory, and appraise all assets that are subject to probate and show them to the court. These can include: Bank accounts, Retirement accounts, Stocks and Bonds, Real Estate, and Personal Items (for example, expensive art).
- Manage Bills and Debt. Take care of money owed to the estate (such as rent) and pay all applicable taxes, as well as the final estate tax.
- Distribute the Remaining Assets. The remaining property will go to the proper heirs.
- Close the Estate. Once you submit the proper receipts and records to the court, you will officially be released from the role of Executor.
Navigating this process can be stressful and complicated under even the best of conditions, as it’s more than likely that you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. Because any mistake in this process can result in a serious impact on everyone involved, we recommend that you consult an experienced attorney to guide you through the ins and outs of the process. Contact us to schedule your initial consultation.
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This website is not intended to be a source of solicitation or legal advice. General information is made available for educational purposes only. The information on this blog is not an invitation for an attorney-client relationship, and website should not be used to substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. Please call us at (626) 403-2292 if you wish to schedule an appointment for a legal consultation. The California Probate Process.
Check out our previous post: Unintended Consequences of a Do-It-Yourself Estate Plan