Probate is the process of administering an estate through the probate court when someone dies without a trust.
California Probate Administration
Probate is the legal process through which assets are distributed when someone passes away with certain assets owned in their own name, rather than in a trust. While this definition seems straightforward, the reality is that dealing with the courts can be quite complex.
If you find yourself responsible for probating a loved one's estate, we are here to assist you. Get in touch with us today, and we'll work together to handle the estate in a transparent and efficient manner.
The California Probate Process
In California, most probates typically take around 9 to 16 months, depending on the complexity of the case. The process begins with filing the Petition for Probate, followed by a probate court hearing to formally appoint you as the Executor (or Personal Representative) of the estate. If there is a Will, it will need to be verified in court, and all relevant parties must receive formal notice of the hearing in advance.
Once appointed, you will begin the task of collecting all assets of the estate, notifying creditors, and settling debts. After gathering all the assets, an inventory and appraisal must be filed with the court, detailing each asset as well as its value as of the date of death. You will also have to provide notice to the relevant government agencies, file the final tax return for the deceased, and close any and all accounts owned by the deceased. If the estate includes real estate, you might need to sell it in the manner specified in the probate code.
This phase of the probate administration process will take at least 4 months from the date of your appointment. Once this period concludes, you will submit another petition to the court, presenting your final report and requesting approval for distribution. This petition will outline every step you took in administering the estate, and will seek permission from the court to distribute the remaining assets.
Finally, you will distribute all assets of the estate and obtain receipts from each beneficiary, which will be filed with the court. You will also file an estate tax return and then request to be released from your duties as the Executor.
Click here to schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation to discuss the probate process. During the consultation, we will address all your probate-related questions and provide guidance on the next steps for you and your family. Our commitment is to help you efficiently administer your loved one's estate and alleviate any administrative or legal burdens you may encounter.
Immediately After Death
Immediately after a loved one's passing, there may be uncertainty about what needs to be done. While there is no immediate action required, here are some do's and don'ts to keep in mind:
Do not drive the deceased's car.
Do not withdraw money from the deceased's accounts.
Do not pay debts other than funeral expenses.
Do not use the deceased's credit cards.
Do not close any accounts.
Do locate the deceased's estate planning documents.
You don't have to call us right away, but we do recommend setting up an appointment within 2-3 weeks after the death. During our meeting, we will help you understand the probate process and guide you on the necessary next steps.
Click here if you would like us to guide you through the probate process, appear in probate court on your behalf, and ensure that you comply with all your obligations under the Probate Code.