The Basics of Probate

Probate is a court process in which the probate court of the county in which the deceased person resided appoints a personal representative (executor) and supervises the executor’s winding-up of a deceased person’s affairs including payment of bills and taxes, collection of assets, the sale of assets, and finally the transfer of the deceased’s assets to named beneficiaries or heirs.

There are advantages and disadvantages to a probate administration of a person’s estate.

Probates usually last from nine months to two years. The size and complexity of the probate estate determines the duration of probate. A complicated probate can continue beyond 2 years.

Not all of a deceased person’s assets are subject to probate administration. Certain assets transfer on a deceased person’s death by the terms of a contract that the deceased person entered (for example, with an insurance company or IRA company, or assets held in a living trust) or by what is called “operation of law” (for example, joint tenancy assets.)

An executor is a fiduciary with special duties owed to the beneficiaries and estate and subject to court supervision.

If real property is located in other states, a separate probate (called an “ancillary probate”) is usually required in each state where property is located. In California, the fees charged by personal representatives and their attorneys are determined by state law in accordance with published fee schedules.   In other states, fees are based on what the court deems reasonable and orders the executor to pay.

We Make Probate Understandable and Manageable

I have represented a wide variety of probate estates. I have filed numerous probates and probate court petitions and know and understand the probate court process. I will explain to you the probate process in plain English so the worry and intimidation are gone and your loved one’s estate can be settled smoothly and as quickly as possible.

Our services include:

  • Probate administration of a Deceased’s estate
  • Probate court petitions affecting property and title to property
  • Probate court petitions to determine who is entitled to inherit
  • Probate court petitions regarding custodians for minors and assets due minors
  • Probate administration of a “pour-over” Will (a Will accompanying a Living Trust)
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