California Probate Lawyers Helping Clients with Estate Administration
When you are mourning the loss of a family member or loved one, it can be overwhelming to even think about how to distribute the deceased individual’s assets. The probate process may be pretty straightforward for someone who died with a plan in place, such as a will or trust. But if the person’s will is complicated or worse, nonexistent, disagreements and California law may lead to you needing to go through the probate court. Depending on the size and nature of the decedent’s estate, the probate administration process can be very lengthy and even expensive. Before trying to distribute the estate assets of a loved one who has died, your first step should be to consult an experienced California probate lawyer who can guide you through this process. The attorneys at DeCarli Law have many years of experience working with families who are going through loss and who need to go through probate court. Debra DeCarli is a compassionate and skilled probate attorney who knows how to make sure the estate account is divided appropriately with the surviving family members, as well as any other assets. Reach out to us today so that we can stand by you during this delicate time.
What Is a Probate Case?
The loss of a loved one is devastating and can be a highly emotional time. Add in the fact that the decedent, or deceased person, has left behind their worldly possessions and that you must figure out who will receive what, and the situation can become very difficult to handle. Even though your deceased friend or a family member has left behind a will, there is a chance that their estate will need to go through the probate process.
During this time, the total estate property and value are determined by someone close to the deceased, and perhaps that is you. This individual will need to obtain the value of the real property owned, the amount in all bank accounts, and any other assets of value. These are submitted for court approval of how they will be distributed to beneficiaries. Since there are many factors that go into dividing the decedent’s estate, it can be challenging for individuals not familiar with probate matters to take on such a task alone, especially when they are grieving their lost loved one. If you find yourself facing a probate case, please don’t feel that you need to do so alone. Reach out to the law offices of DeCarli Law, and we will gladly help you with your probate needs.
Why Would an Individual’s Estate Go Through Probate?
Probate can be an expensive and frustrating process as the court tries to determine the best way to divide a deceased person’s estate assets. Difficulties may come up during the probate process, such as disagreements among family members and trouble estimating the total estate value. As a probate attorney, Debra DeCarli strives as much as possible to help her clients avoid California probate by having a valid will and the right trusts and placing all assets appropriately within these legal documents with named beneficiaries specified. However, sometimes a loved one dies without this preparation completed, and circumstances can require you to go through the probate process. The following are a couple of examples of why probate may be needed:
The Individual Died Without a Will
Another name for someone dying without a will is that they died intestate. In the case that someone has not indicated who will receive what from their goods and their bank accounts, the estate of that person must be decided by the probate court.
In some cases, the person might have had a will but didn’t take advantage of using a trust. Trusts, especially living trusts, can be an excellent way of protecting real property and other assets from going through the probate administration process. However, even if the individual had a trust if any of their property was not allocated properly within these documents, the estate still may be subject to probate.
Amount of Assets
Another indicator that someone’s estate will need probate is the number of assets in the estate. In California probate, a minimum amount must be reached, or else the estate can be settled without using the probate court.
What Happens During Probate?
During the estate administration process, there are many steps that must take place. Petitions must be filed with the court, which can be tricky unless done with the assistance of a knowledgeable probate lawyer. The will must also be proven valid. The assets of the deceased person will need to be accounted for and the value estimated and submitted to the court. This includes not only financial accounts such as those held in a bank but also retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, mutual funds, and physical items like homes, vehicles, and boats.
Another aspect of going through probate court is that the executor of the deceased person’s estate will need to consider the debts and payments that the person who has died still owed. These can include taxes that are due, credit card bills, and funeral expenses. These other factors can make a big difference in what is left of the inheritance for the beneficiaries to receive. Many people may not realize it, but proper estate planning can actually save your family from many of these taxes that are due during probate. This is why counseling with a law firm in order to prepare your estate plan is such an important matter to resolve before you die. If your loved one does need to have their estate go through probate, having a probate attorney is still a great strategy to minimize the expense and help you through this complicated process.
How Can a California Probate Lawyer Help You?
Addressing the issue of probate after the death of a family member or dear friend can seem overwhelming and frightening. There is a lot to consider with assessing the value of the estate as well as what amounts may be due to any creditors, including the government in the form of taxes. But Californian Estate Planning Lawyers who have plenty of experience like those at DeCarli Law can be a great benefit to you and the whole family.
We will walk by your side and make sure the probate process goes as smoothly as possible and that the beneficiaries receive the amounts they deserve. The probate process is a very important part of dealing with a loved one’s death, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Please reach out to us for a free initial consultation at (707) 937-2701. We would love to meet with you in person, but we realize that many people prefer not to come into the office. For this reason, we also offer virtual appointments as well as meeting with clients by phone.
California Probate: How Much Does It Cost?
Use Our Probate Calculator