Mendocino Probate Lawyers Guiding Clients Through the Probate Process
When your loved one dies, you have a lot on your mind without even considering what will happen to their possessions and assets. The process can be simple if the individual had an estate plan such as a will and trust. But no estate plan can mean you might need to go through the legal process of probate. This is where a court helps you figure out how to divide the property among the person’s heirs. If this is the position you’re in, the best thing you can do is to contact a skilled probate lawyer who knows what they’re doing so you don’t have to wonder about what steps to take. The talented legal team at DeCarli Law is made up of attorneys who love listening to clients and helping them resolve any issues that may come up during probate. The law offices of DeCarli Law can be reached at (707) 937-2701. Call today for a free appointment either in person at our lovely Mendocino location, by phone, or by a virtual meeting.
What Does Probate Mean?
The probate process in California refers to the assessment of a deceased person, or decedent’s, assets and their distribution to their surviving family members. One important aspect of probate is that the court may end up making the final decision, meaning close friends, unmarried domestic partners, and distant relatives will not be given priority when it comes to an inheritance. The first step in the process, after filing a petition for probate, is to analyze the amount the decedent was worth. This may include bank accounts, retirement accounts, physical property such as homes and vehicles, and other valuables. Once the court receives this report, they will first ensure that all taxes and debts are paid before distributing the remaining money and property to any beneficiaries. The probate process can be lengthy and confusing, especially without trusted legal representation. If you need to go through probate, don’t delay in calling our Mendocino office to find out how we can help you.
What Makes Probate Necessary for an Estate?
We try to avoid probate as much as possible for our clients because it can be complicated and takes up precious time and funds as an estate has to go through the court system. But sometimes probate is necessary for various reasons. It could be that the decedent did not have a will in place, or that family disagreement about the validity of the results of the estate planning cause the need for probate. The following are some of the main reasons we see clients needing to go through the probate process:
Deceased Person had No Will
When a person dies without a will, we say that they were intestate. This can obviously create confusion as there is no indication as to who will receive the inheritance or who will make decisions about the decedent’s accounts or assets.
There might also be some cases where the deceased person did not utilize trusts in their estate plan. Trusts can be a very effective way of indicating how one wants their wealth divided amongst their heirs, as well as minimizing taxes owed. Trusts are one of the best ways of avoiding probate, but occasionally probate may still be required.
Amount of Assets
The size of the decedent’s estate is another critical factor in knowing whether probate will be necessary. In California, when the sum of the person’s bank and other financial accounts, including retirement accounts, along with the value of their property such as homes and vehicles, is higher than a certain number stated by law, probate may be necessary. Any estates smaller than this may be able to avoid probate.
If your loved one needs probate, or if you want to have your estate plan in place, so your family doesn’t have to deal with probate, you need a trusted estate planning attorney to help guide you through this tricky process.
What Happens During Probate?
Probate can be lengthy, and the process varies from case to case. However, most probate cases begin with the filing of a petition, followed by proving the will valid if it exists. The assets of the deceased person will then be evaluated to find out the total value as well, and an inventory will be submitted to the court. The estate includes all of the decedent’s property of value, including bank accounts, IRA and 401k accounts, homes, vehicles, and other valuables. The person’s debts and taxes will then be added up and must be paid as well, which can end up taking a big hit against the number of funds to pass to beneficiaries. With so much that goes into probate, you don’t want to be stuck going through this process on your own. Reach out to DeCarli Law if you have any probate or estate planning needs.
Can Our Probate Attorneys Help You?
Facing the prospect of probate alone is a daunting task for many people. You are still grieving the loss of a family member or friend, and adding on the technical legal process of probate may be too much to ask. But you don’t need to do it alone.
At DeCarli Law, our priority is to make sure our clients have the best counsel possible as they go through any legal aspect of estate planning, be it preparing their own plan or going through probate for a loved one. We will listen carefully to your needs and make sure those are addressed as much as possible throughout the process. We want you to feel confident and have peace of mind that your case is being handled with skill and compassion. Our probate lawyers offer appointments in person at our lovely Mendocino office, but we can also meet virtually or by phone. Call today for a free initial consultation at (707) 937-2701.