A will is a document that states how the person wanted their property to be distributed after their death.
We are sensitive to your needs when you lose a loved one! Unfortunately, sometimes a Trust is not in place and an Estate must be settled by the family through the Probate process. We will guide you each step of the way.
Probate is the legal process that one must follow to transfer or inherit property after the person who owned the property has passed away. Depending on the amount and type of property the deceased person owned, you may or may not need to go to court to transfer or inherit the property. Probate can be complicated and time-consuming, so it is important to understand how it works and what your options are.
One of the first things to do is to check if the deceased person had a will or a trust.A trust is a legal arrangement that allows a person to transfer their property to another person or entity, called a trustee, who manages it for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries.
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If the deceased person had a will or a trust, the person named as the executor or trustee will generally handle the probate matters.
If the deceased person did not have a will or a trust, or if some of their property was not included in their will or trust, then their property will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession.
These are the laws that say who inherits something if the person did not have a will or trust. In California, these laws depend on whether the deceased person was married, had children, had parents, had siblings, or had other relatives.
The probate process can take anywhere from six months to several years, depending on the complexity and size of the estate, and whether there are any disputes among the parties involved.
The personal representative must complete probate within one year from the date of appointment, unless they file a federal estate tax return. In that case, they can have 18 months to complete probate.
Probate can also be expensive, as there are fees for filing documents, publishing notices, hiring appraisers and attorneys, and paying taxes. In California, there are statutory fees for attorneys and personal representatives based on a percentage of the value of the estate. These fees can range from 4% for estates up to $100,000 to 0.5% for estates over $25 million.
Probate can be avoided or minimized by planning ahead and using tools such as wills, trusts, joint tenancy, beneficiary designations, and transfer-on-death deeds. However, these tools may not be suitable for everyone and may have their own advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in estate planning before making any decisions about your property and how you want it to be distributed after your death.
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