When a California resident passes away their estate usually goes through probate. The probate process is used to make sure the money and property in that person’s estate will be distributed to their heirs. There are many steps required in the probate process, even when there is a will involved. Probate proceedings typically required proving the existence of the will, identifying and inventorying the property, appraising the property, paying debts and taxes, and finally distributing the assets that remain.
Schomer Law can help you handle any probate issues that may arise when it comes time to administer a loved one’s estate. Our Los Angeles probate lawyers can also assist with any questions you may have as an executor.
What is the first thing an executor should do?
One of the first things an executor must do to carry out his or her duties is filing the petition to initiating the probate process. The petition is filed with the California Superior Court in the county where the decedent was living at the time of death. The petition is needed for the court to schedule a hearing, which is typically held within 30 days of filing the petition.
How Can a Los Angeles Probate Lawyer Help Me?
When you contact Schomer Law, you will be represented by lawyers with decades of collective knowledge and experience. We can help you to handle any probate administration issues you may have. To learn more how we can help you, give us a call today.
If there is a will it may need to be “proven”
If a will exists, it is often necessary to “prove” the will is valid unless it can be considered a “self-proving” will. In some cases, the will contains certain required language, as well as reference an affidavit from the witnesses whose signatures appear on the will. Having these elements make it unnecessary to prove the validity of the will. Each state has its own laws regarding whether or not self-proving wills are recognized and, if so, how they must be created. The probate lawyers at Schomer Law are familiar with these laws and how to apply them for the benefit of our clients.
What happens to a California estate if there is no will?
Some people share the misconception that if they do not have a will or trust in place when they die, the state of California will end up with their property instead of their heirs. This is not always the case. In the case of a decedent who has no will, the laws are designed to give their property to their relatives, even the most remote ones if necessary. In the unusual case where there are no surviving relatives, then the estate “escheats” to the county where you lived at the time of your death. However, this is not very common. You can avoid this situation by creating a will or trust and leaving your assets to those you care about most.
Let our probate lawyers help you navigate the probate process
There are many misconceptions regarding the California probate process. The focus of your estate plan should be to preserve your estate for your family so you can protect their future. Our probate lawyers can help you focus on the proper goals for your estate plan.
After the petition has been filed, a notice of hearing must be published at least three times in a local newspaper and mailed to everyone who was named in the will. The executor is required to take possession of the assets of the probate estate and establish an inventory of property it contains.
Once notice of the death has been published, any creditors with legitimate debts are expected to submit a claim with the probate court. Once those claims are deemed to be valid they will be paid from the estate before any other distributions can be made. The executor is also in charge of making sure that all estate taxes are paid before any distributions can be made to the deceased’s heirs and beneficiaries. The final step in the California probate process is to close the estate, which requires the executor to provide a report, or an accounting, to the court of all transactions regarding the estate.
The California probate process takes time
A common question many clients ask is whether their estate will be “tied up in probate,” for a really long period of time. While the probate process takes some time to complete, it can typically be closed within 6 months to a year. This time is essential because there are several steps that must be completed before debts can be paid and the property that remains can be distributed appropriately.
If you have questions regarding wills or any other probate needs, please contact the Schomer Law Group for a consultation.