Probate & Estate Administration Attorney in California
When someone dies in California, their estate might enter the probate process. What happens during this process depends greatly on the size of the estate and the composition of an estate plan, if one exists. If a decedent (a person who is deceased) does not have their assets titled in the name of a Trust, their assets will require that a personal representative of the estate be appointed by the court (an Executor or Administrator). The probate process requires adherence to procedural rules and state law.
At Greensides Law, P.C., our probate attorney in Santa Clara County works with each client to help them understand what's happening, what their role is, and how best to proceed to ensure distribution of the decedent's estate with minimal delays and challenges. Contact us at (408) 660-8050 to schedule an appointment to discuss your estate administration and probate issues and to get the process started properly and timely.
Understanding Probate and
Probate is the legal process through which the court oversees the distribution of a deceased person's assets. This process ensures that debts are paid, and the remaining assets are transferred to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries. Probate is initiated by the filing of a petition in the county where the deceased person lived.
Estate administration is a broader term involving the entire process of managing and distributing a deceased person's estate. While probate is a significant component, estate administration also involves handling non-probate assets, paying debts, and addressing tax matters. This multifaceted process requires a keen understanding of legal nuances to ensure a smooth transition.
The Probate Process in California
Probate is conducted relatively the same way from one jurisdiction to another, though there are differences, especially with respect to timelines and service requirements. To initiate probate proceedings, a petition must be filed in the appropriate probate court. The court will appoint a personal representative or estate administrator, typically named in the decedent's will or designated by law.
Once a representative has been appointed, they must identify, value, and compile the decedent's assets. The value of each asset is determined in light of all debts and liabilities. Before any assets are distributed to heirs or beneficiaries, debts must be settled. The representative provides notice to all creditors, who in turn have a certain period of time to make claims against the estate. The personal representative uses estate funds to settle valid debts and expenses.
Once debts are paid, the remaining assets are legally transferred to beneficiaries or heirs as per the decedent's wishes or state law.
Though this process sounds straightforward, it can be quite complicated for non-attorneys. Many challenges and legal issues arise during the administration of estates, and these challenges can cause delays.
Potential Challenges in Probate and
Challenges in probate can hold up the process, and when that happens, heirs and beneficiaries are burdened by the delays.
Three of the most common challenges in probate and estate administration include:
- Will Contests. Wills go through probate. If there are doubts about the validity of the will, disputes may arise.
- Disputes Among Heirs or Beneficiaries. Emotions can get testy during probate and some heirs or beneficiaries may believe they are owed something and will fight to obtain it.
- Complex Tax Issues. Navigating federal and state estate tax requirements demands intricate knowledge, especially when the estate involves multiple jurisdictions.
At Greensides Law, P.C., our estate attorney can help you avoid probate altogether through proactive estate planning. However, in the case a loved one dies and their estate goes through probate, we are here to help you through it so that challenges are minimized or avoided.
Why Choose Our
Estate Planning Attorney in California
At Greensides Law, P.C., we are committed to providing the best legal services for each of our clients. To do so, we:
- Navigate the legal processes so that you do not have to figure it out on your own
- Streamline the process to minimize delays
- Possess an understanding of estate laws
If a loved one has died and you need help with the estate or probate process, our estate attorney in California can provide immediate assistance.
Contact a Probate Attorney
In Santa Clara County Today
Navigating probate and estate administration can be daunting, but with a probate attorney in California, you can confidently navigate the process. At Greensides Law, P.C., we are committed to helping you throughout the probate journey. Contact us today via the online form or call us at (408) 660-8050 to schedule an appointment, and let us guide you through the estate administration and probate process.