When an individual passes away, their estate – all the money and property they owned – is often distributed to their remaining family members. This may sound like a simple process, but unfortunately there are many issues that can arise that complicate this, even if the decedent had a will when they passed. Working with our experienced Los Angeles probate lawyer is the best way to avoid these complications and ensure that your loved one’s estate is able to be easily and efficiently distributed to their heirs.
Probate is a necessary step in which a court oversees the division and distribution of a deceased person’s assets, to guarantee that their wishes are carried out. Without it, anyone could lay claim to their belongings, which wouldn’t be fair. If they did not have a will which clearly outlined their wishes, then everything will be distributed according to the California laws of intestate succession.
Much of the heavy lifting involved with probate falls on the shoulders of the executor named in the decedent’s will, or the court-appointed representative if there was no will. Even simple errors could lead to an extended timeline or excessive fees, so if you are the individual tasked with handling probate, it’s in your best interest to seek the aid of our lead Los Angeles probate lawyer, William Hayes. He has over 40 years of experience, and the knowledge and resources to guide you through probate smoothly and quickly.
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What Does The Probate Process In California Look Like?
Not every estate will need to go through probate, so it’s crucial that our Los Angeles probate lawyer is able to review your case and give you a definitive answer. For instance, some procedural alternatives and shortcuts – such as spousal property petitions, small-value estate declarations, and/or trust property petitions under Probate Code 850 – may be an option. Once it is determined that probate is, in fact, necessary, the following steps must take place:
- Filing a petition to initiate probate
- Giving notice to all beneficiaries and heirs that the estate is in probate
- The assets that are subject to probate must be collected, inventoried, and appraised, then presented to the court
- Outstanding bills and debt must be taken care of
- The remaining property will be distributed to their proper heirs
- The estate will be closed after proper receipts and records are submitted to the court
What Is The Role Of The Executor Or Administrator?
Once probate is opened, the executor or administrator must:
- Give legal notice to creditors, beneficiaries, and the public
- Collect, protect, and inventory assets
- Have assets appraised
- Settle debts with creditors
- File final tax returns
- Pay taxes (including the inheritance tax)
- Prepare a financial accounting
- Distribute assets to beneficiaries
- Close the estate
- And more.
This responsibility can be highly stressful to a person who is not only still in mourning for their loved one, but also has their own day-to-day obligations to tend to. It is easy to miss deadlines or make simple mistakes, which as already discussed, can be detrimental to the progress you’ve made so far. Our Los Angeles probate lawyer can handle much of these tasks on your behalf and give you peace of mind that they are error-free. This allows you to focus your time and energy on what really matters: healing and moving forward.
Why Choose Our Los Angeles Probate Lawyer?
We are deeply sorry for your loss and want to help make this difficult time just a little bit easier for you. Our firm has won several awards for our personal and attentive services, and boasts over 75 five-star reviews. Each member of our team is devoted to not only meeting, but exceeding your expectations as we navigate you through your legal dilemma. Call today to schedule your free consultation and learn more about working with our firm.