Pleasanton Probate Lawyers Assisting Clients with Probate
Handling probate after the death of a loved one can be an intimidating prospect as you are already going through the emotional time of mourning your friend or family member. If the individual had a thorough estate plan with a will and trust, probate could be avoided or made easier, and administering the estate can be a simple procedure. But sometimes the decedent, or person who died, did not plan ahead, or perhaps disagreements in the family cause the need for legal intervention in distributing the property to the beneficiaries. In these cases, probate may be needed. If your family member passed away and their estate is going through probate, the best thing you can do is speak with an attorney who knows the process and can guide you through it at every step of the way. Lawyer Debra DeCarli and her legal team have spent many years helping clients in Northern California with estate planning and probate and we want to be there for you during this difficult time. You can reach us to make an appointment in person in Pleasanton or even schedule a virtual or phone meeting with us by calling (925) 568-2350.
What is Probate in California?
California probate law deals with a person who dies and needs the aid of the court in order to distribute their goods to any heirs or beneficiaries. The final decisions come under the court’s discretion, making probate a stressful time for family members. Ideally, a person will prepare their estate using a talented attorney to avoid probate. If it should be necessary, the process would include evaluating the person’s estate such as the amount in any bank and retirement accounts like IRA’s or 401k’s, as well as the value of all assets like homes, boats, cars, and any real property. The debts that the deceased person owed, along with paying taxes, must be taken care of during probate as well. If you are facing probate for your loved one’s estate, or if you want to avoid probate by making your estate plan, contact DeCarli Law today in our lovely and convenient Pleasanton location to see how we can help you.
Why Would Someone Need Probate in Pleasanton, CA?
Our goal with estate planning for our clients is to avoid probate whenever possible because it can quickly become time-consuming and expensive for family members who have already gone through so much at the death of their loved ones. However, probate may still become necessary, perhaps because of a lack of will or disagreements in the family. The following are some scenarios that could lead to an estate going through the probate process in California:
There is No Will
In legal terms, we call a person who dies without a will intestate. This is one of the common ways we see cases needing to go through probate in order to determine what valuables they left behind and who should inherit them. In these cases, the final decision for the inheritance is left up to the courts, which is disappointing for friends or unmarried domestic partners who are usually not considered beneficiaries under California law.
If it is a Large Estate
Another factor in deciding whether or not a case must go through the probate process is how much value is held in the decedent’s name. Remember that this goes beyond their bank account; also included are all retirement accounts and physical property like their home, vehicles, and any other real estate or items of value. If the sum of these assets is smaller than the specified amount in California, the estate may not need to through probate. Larger estates, however, will probably need the probate process in order to be administered under the law.
When your loved one dies, please don’t feel like you have to go through the process of distributing their estate alone. If you’re not sure if probate is necessary, you can always contact us at DeCarli Law for a free consultation and see how we can help you.
What Will Happen During My Probate Case?
Facing probate can be a daunting task, as many people have never done this before. While it can be helpful to have an overview of what will happen during probate, remember that the length of the procedure and the steps required may vary from case to case.
The first step in starting probate is to file a petition with the court, which should always be done with an experienced estate planning lawyer from California. The court will then begin to assess the estate, including proving the will’s validity and evaluating the size and monetary value of all the decedent’s assets (like their properties, vehicles, bank accounts, etc.). The next step is usually to address any outstanding debts the individual owed when they died. Any taxes must also be paid. These must be finalized during probate before the beneficiaries can collect anything from the estate.
You can see that probate can have a huge effect on what the beneficiaries of the deceased person will receive. This is why it is so important to have a lawyer on your side who will help you through the probate process.
How Can a California Probate Lawyer Help You?
Going through the probate process can be intimidating, but you don’t have to do it alone. At DeCarli Law, we take pride in helping clients prepare an estate plan to help their family avoid probate in the first place, but we also recognize that there are times when individuals face probate and need help getting through this tricky legal process. Our attorneys listen carefully to our client’s needs and make sure their case is handled with the utmost care and skill. If you find yourself facing probate after the death of a loved one or have any other estate planning needs, please reach out to us today for an appointment in our Pleasanton office at (925) 568-2350. We are also happy to meet virtually or by phone, so contact us today.
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