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State of California Probate: A General Overview

When a person dies, the money, property, and other assets that make up the person’s estate will be distributed among that person’s heirs. Generally, in order for those assets to be distributed, the estate will need to go through a probate process.

In California, the probate process is not particularly troublesome and there are a few legal shortcuts that can allow families to avoid probate court after the passing of a loved one. The steps to probate can involve the following:

  • Proving the existence of a valid will, if there is one
  • Identifying the deceased person’s property
  • Making an inventory of the assets
  • Appraising the property and assets
  • Paying applicable dues: debts and taxes,
  • Distributing any remaining property

In order for the probate process to be underway, the overseeing court will need to appoint a person to supervise the process. If the deceased person has left a will, a personal representative will be typically designated. All personal representatives will need to be impartial in the representation of all parties that have interest in the assets. This individual will take possession of the property and be responsible for distributing it accordingly.

This article will highlight important aspects of the probate process. For more information regarding your specific case, consider seek the legal expertise of a knowledgeable attorney. Probate can be a time consuming and complex matter, an expert attorney can help facilitate the process.

Step #1: File the Petition

In order to initiate the probate proceedings, a petition will need to be filed with the applicable superior court. The applicable court will typically be in the jurisdiction where the deceased person lived at the time of his or her death. Filing the petition will prompt the court to schedule a hearing in about 30 calendar days.

Step #2: Notifying Applicable Parties

Once the petition has been filed, a notice of the hearing will be published for a minimum of 3 times in a local newspaper. The petitioner will also be responsible of mailing a notice to all those who were named in the will, if applicable. The heirs of the deceased will also need to be notified. Finally, proof of all these notifications will need to be filed into the court system.

Step #3: Proving a Valid Will

If the deceased individual has left a written will, it will be necessary to prove that the written will is valid. Every state has its own rules and regulations regarding written wills. It is therefore important to seek the legal expertise of a qualified attorney who has experience in this field who can facilitate the process.

Step #4: Collection of Assets

The utmost primary duty of the personal representative is to take a hold of all of the property and assets that is subject to probate. This is because there are only some forms of estate planning instruments that will not be required to go through a probate process. In the event that the title of a property needs to be changed to another’s name, the representative will need to make those changes. Other assets that may be subject to title name changes include:

  • Mutual funds
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit union accounts

Obtain the Representation of a Professional Attorney

The probate process in the State of California is not as rigorous as it is in other states, however, it is important to understand the legal aspects. A qualified attorney can help you navigate the entire process to ensure that your rights and interested are upheld.

Attorney Scot Thomas Moga is skilled in the field of probate cases. The Moga Law Firm has over 25 Years of dedicated experience in assisting individuals with probate matters in the State of California. Probate litigation requires skilled legal guidance; obtain qualified support today.

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