The LA Probate Law Process in Simplified Terms
You may have come across the term ‘Probate’ a number of times. Probate basically is the legal procedure of passing ownership of a certain property to the heirs. It also includes validation of the will and identifying beneficiaries. If there is no valid Will, then the state determines how to divide the money and whom to give the money. Many people have a misconception that if there is a valid will then the family does not need to undergo the probate process. This process is mandatory whenever there is a death in the family and property division comes into question. Probate laws vary a lot depending on the state you live in. If you are in California then knowing LA Probate Law will help you to guard your finances.
The whole process takes place under the guidance of an executor. The executor is generally nominated by the property owner. The executor is bound to carry out his duties in an orderly manner so that there are no difficulties later. He is solely accountable to the beneficiaries. If at any point of time, it is found that his methods are incompetent then the court can start directing his activities. If the owner did not appoint an executor then the court brings in an administrator who takes over the role of managing the affairs of the deceased individual. In many cases the court asks for a surety bond from the administrator. The administrator can also be a personal representative who looks after the legal affairs of the estate. The Power of Attorney is generally passed to the personal representative so that they do not face any problems while running the estate. According to LA Probate Law, the executor or the administrator is given a certain amount of money from the estate for their loyal services. The probate process ideally involves the following steps.
· The beneficiaries are gathered and intimidated about the Will.
· All the properties of the deceased owner are calculated and accounted for.
· The creditors, if any, are given their share and the taxes of the estate are settled.
· The state sells off a part of the property to cover its expenses and bills. Sometimes when there are multiple properties, some of them are sold off for appropriate distribution among the beneficiaries.
· The Government may levy a number of taxes on estates that exceed a certain amount. Inheritance taxes, estate taxes and gift taxes are some of the taxes that are charged by the state.
· LA Probate Law has separate guidelines for homestead property. Make sure you know about the clauses before you do anything with the properties.
· Pending lawsuits have to be taken into consideration as well. The executor or personal representative has to file separate processes to obtain the proceeds of the lawsuits. Suppose the family of the deceased individual loses the case, then the money has to be paid by selling off a part of the estate.
· The state supervises the accounting, appraising, liquidation and disbursement of the assets.
· After the will is approved by the court, the executor can enforce the will so that it becomes a legal document.
· The heirs and beneficiaries who have been approved by the court receive their benefits and entitled assets.
· Sometimes there is also a partial distribution of assets before the court passes the verdict of selling off everything and closing the estate.
LA Probate Law is not as slow as people assume it to be. The cases are cleared off soon enough if all the documents are found to be in order. The timeline generally goes up to six months. The main factor that governs the speed of the process is the presence of a valid Will. A Will is declared valid only if it proved to be the final statement of the deceased person. If any other family member is able to produce a Will of a later date then the previous Will becomes void. The importance of the Will lies in the fact that it consists of the final wishes of the deceased person. If the Will clearly spells out the names of the beneficiaries, then the courts do not interfere much and the process is carried out smoothly. But sometimes disputes among heirs, creditor claims and tax liabilities delay the process. The process is also affected if there are too many properties to be sold or there is congestion in the probate courts. There is another kind of a Will called Pour-Over Will. In this Will, the owner creates a trust. Generally these Wills are created when the owner wants his money to go to the trust in the event of his death. The trustee is given complete rights to the money.
If you go through LA Probate Law then you will get to know that all kinds of property do not need to go through probate to reach the heirs. Jointly owned property is transferred to the joint owner of the property as soon as the owner of the property dies. Proceeds of the retirement account are either given to the spouse or even if the spouse is dead, it is passed on to the existing children. Annuities and life insurance policies generally have nominees that are selected beforehand. So when the owner of these policies dies, the amounts are directly paid to the nominees or beneficiaries. In all these cases, obtaining probate is not necessary. But you cannot avoid estate administration even if you do not opt for a probate.