When a loved one passes away, you’re preoccupied with preparing the funeral while being all confused, sad, and unable to think clearly. In moments like these, the last thing that comes to mind is dealing with legal stuff such as wills and probate. To avoid adding more stress to your life, in moments like these it’s best to hire a probate attorney to take care of everything for you in the proper and rightful way.
Hiring a California probate attorney isn’t complicated at all, but in some cases it can be quite expensive. In order to make the right decision easier, you need to be well-informed about probate meaning, details and circumstances when a probate attorney is the right choice.
By definition, probate is the legal process of proving the validity and authenticity of a will after a person dies. It also refers to the process of administering the deceased person’s estate according to the valid will.
When the deceased person has a will, the legal process requires the probate court to first establish the validity of the will. The will, along with a petition for approval, are filed in the appropriate court in the county where the deceased person lived. The clerk of the court needs to approve the will and appoint the executor who is named in the will. If there’s no executor named, then the clerk will assign an administrator. After the will is proven to be valid, the court admits it to probate.
What probate most precisely refers to, is the entire process of administration of the deceased person’s estate according to a will. It also refers to administration of estates that aren’t listed in a will but belonged to a person who is deceased.
Not all wills go to probate. In most cases, when the deceased didn’t leave much in his/her will, a probate isn’t necessary.
A probate is necessary when there is a transfer of large assets and or estate, and when the property that needs to be transferred wasn’t hold in joint tenancy.
If you’re in doubt whether you hold a case that can undergo probate, contact us for a free consultation.
According to probate rules and probate limits, not all cases go to probate.
Assets that are considered “small estate”, whose value is below the California small estate limit, don’t go to probate. Depending on where you live, these cases can sometimes be resolved by filing a simple affidavit by the inheritors. Here, it’s important to know how to determine the estate’s value so you know whether or not it’s below the “small estate” threshold. The California probate code regulates this issue with specific numbers and details.
Other assets that are also exempt from probate, according to probate rules are:
Living trust assets – any asset that is part of a Living trust created by the deceased, won’t go through probate. In fact, this is why living trusts are created and are quite common in California. However, if the deceased has assets outside of the trust that add up to more than California’s small estate limit, then they will go through probate.
To learn more about this scenario, contact us for a free consultation.
Among most common probate issues are disagreement with the deceased’s will by members of the family and handling the probate tax on the inherited estate.
Disagreements over the will are the most common issue that comes up in probate, especially if the deceased had a large family. Most often, those are the spouses and the children who may not feel like the terms of the will or testament are in their favor.
In such situations, the will is altered. Altering the will is a rather complicated process depending on the reason for making the change. If there’s a dispute over inheriting the estate, then the entire process can be long, painful and expensive.
There are other reasons for altering the will as well. Sometimes, people who are named as inheritors in a will, simply don’t want the estate. In such cases, they often choose to leave it to either their children or to other people.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to keep in mind that altering a will almost always results in disagreements among related parties, so it’s always best to have a lawyer who can advise on the best practice to avoid unpleasantries.
Another common issue people encounter from inheriting assets is inheritance tax. After inheriting an asset, you’re obliged to pay probate tax for it. Probate tax or estate tax, can sometimes change the mind of the inheritor so he/she decides to leave the inheritance. That’s because estate tax can be a surprisingly large amount.
We strongly advise you to have a probate attorney prepare everything properly so you don’t pay even more that needed. We also recommend that you also consult your financial advisor , so you have a clearer image of your financial situation and whether accepting an inheritance is financially wise for you.
Probate doesn’t have to be costly. Depending on the lawyer you choose, you can be charged by the hour, a flat rate or a percentage of the inherited estate. Depending on the assets you’d inherit, you should choose a lawyer who can help you in a way that is financially suitable to you.
For more information on the actual cost of probate, contact us on our phone number for free consultations: 877-647-9076
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