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Probate Lawyers California

Providing Experienced Legal Guidance Through the Probate Process

If your loved one has recently passed away, you and your family will likely need to resolve their estate to receive any inheritance. Resolving an estate can be done in many different ways depending on the estate plan that your loved one left behind. If you and your family are named in a will, then it is subject to the probate process, where the will’s validity will be examined in court.

Every will must go through this legal process before assets can be distributed to beneficiaries and heirs. Unfortunately, the probate process can take a long time and can quickly become complicated, leading to contention between family members during an already difficult time.

If you are going through the probate process, hiring a probate attorney is essential. A probate lawyer from our law firm can walk you through the entire experience, ensuring that it goes smoothly and as quickly as possible.

Our team at The Singh Law Firm has years of experience navigating the probate process, and we are confident we can handle even the most complex of estate matters to get you and your family the assets you deserve. To receive a free consultation and learn more about our law firm, call us today at 510-901-5375.

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What is the process?

The probate process is the process a will goes through in court before any assets can be distributed. Every state has a slightly different process, but in California probate is similar to most other states.

Below are the steps that the probate process typically follows:

  • Gathering documents like your loved one’s last will and testament, trust documents, and bank statements.
  • Filing documents with the court to become the executor of the estate. Most executors are named in the will.
  • Notifying organizations of your role as the executor. You must let the estate’s beneficiaries know, as well as the IRS and the Social Security Administration.
  • Notifying creditors of the estate of your role.
  • Evaluating assets within the estate and assigning them value.
  • Paying creditors and taxes of the estate.
  • Distributing assets to the named beneficiaries and heirs in the will.
  • Closing the estate by petitioning the court.

If your family member died without a will or did not name an executor in the will, then the state of California will assign an executor for you. If you are the executor of the estate, an experienced California probate lawyer can guide you through the probate process to ensure you don’t miss any steps. Or, if you are a concerned family member finding issues with the will, our team can help you petition the court. Contact us today for more information.

How Long Does Probate Take?

Under California law, the executor must have probate completed within one year of being assigned as executor. However, the probate process typically takes between nine months and 18 months to resolve fully. This timeline can vary depending on the circumstances of the estate planning and the complexity of the assets within the estate. If you would like to speed up the process and ensure there are no delays, our team of estate planning attorneys is here to help.

What Does a Probate Lawyer Do?

There are many things a probate lawyer on our team can help you with. Our main goal is to help settle your loved one’s estate and assist the executor in any way they need. Similarly, a probate attorney can also help resolve disputes between family members if they arise to avoid unnecessary court proceedings.
Additionally, our team can help you do the following:

  • Pay estate taxes
  • Pay inheritance taxes
  • Identify and assign value to estate assets
  • Resolve probate litigation issues
  • Distribute living trusts
  • Open and manage the estate checking account
  • Prepare and file court documents
  • Collect life insurance policy proceeds
  • Order property appraisals
  • Make final asset distributions
  • Close the estate in court

What Does a Personal Representative Do?

The executor of the estate is also known as the personal representative. They have several duties to fulfill before the estate can be closed and assets can be distributed. If you have been assigned as a personal representative, it is essential that you understand your duties and responsibilities. Once you have been assigned as an executor, the court will grant you letters of testamentary or letters of administration, giving you the authority to handle the estate’s assets.
You will then be required to complete the following steps:

  • File the deceased’s taxes
  • Pay debts or claims from the estate
  • Inventory the assets in the estate
  • Sell assets if needed
  • Open a bank account to pay all debts and funeral costs
  • Provide notice of the estate to family members
  • Distribute assets
  • File all documentation to the court
  • Show a final statement of transactions to the court

If any of these steps are missed or done incorrectly, it could delay the probate process, leading to further issues down the line. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your duties as a personal representative, contact a probate attorney. Our probate attorneys are here to assist you and ensure you fully understand what is required of you.

Can a Probate Lawyer Help Me?

Dealing with a loved one’s estate can be stressful, especially if you and your family members are still grieving. Because the process is so lengthy and has so many steps, having a probate attorney on your side to walk you through it can be very valuable. Our team at The Singh Law Firm is dedicated to helping our clients speed up the probate process and distribute assets to their rightful beneficiaries. Please don’t feel like you must tackle this complicated legal process on your own. Call our office today for a free consultation at 510-901-5375.

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What is Probate?

Probate in California is a court supervised process that is used to wind up a person’s legal and financial affairs after death, usually overseen by probate lawyers in California. Probate includes gathering a deceased person’s assets, proving the validity of the will; appraising the estate property; paying creditors (including estate taxes); and then distributing the property as directed by will or state law if there is no will.

California probate is the process of determining the rights and obligations of a person’s legal and financial matters after their death. Probate is the way to transfer assets, resolve debts and clear title so the decedent’s assets can get to the rightful heirs. Often, it is a complicated and time-consuming process. For estates larger than $184,500, court supervision is helpful, in order to oversee the process and approve the distributions.

Assets owned solely in the name of the deceased person are subject to probate. Assets that pass by means of title, such as real estate titled as “Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship,” or bank accounts titled as “Transfer On Death” are not subject to the probate process. Assets that pass by means of a beneficiary designation, such as life insurance or some retirement accounts, are also not subject to probate.

In some situations, however, assets that would otherwise pass by title or beneficiary designation can be subject to the probate process.

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How is Distribution of the Estate Handled if there is no Will?

If there is no will or trust, the estate will be distributed according to California probate and intestate laws, which state that a person’s estate will be distributed in the following order:

  1. Spouse
  2. Children
  3. Parents (if you have no children)
  4. Siblings (if you have no children or parents)

If there is a Will, is there still a Probate?

Many people mistakenly think that by having a will they are avoiding probate. However, just the opposite is true. A will guarantees probate because the purpose of probate is to prove the validity of a will.