Grieving the loss of a loved one is not easy. If you are the person named in your deceased loved one’s Will, the thought of executing the Will or administering an intestate succession may seem daunting. If your deceased loved one passed away without a Will (Intestate), then the Probate process may be necessary. The California Probate process can be complex and costly. If your loved one’s estate was $166,250 or less, you may be able to use an informal Probate process. I can assist you in determining whether your deceased loved one’s estate requires a formal or informal Probate.
What is Probate?
Probate means that there is a court case that deals with:
- Deciding if a Will exists and, if so, establishing its authenticity;
- Determining who are the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries;
- Ascertaining the worth of the decedent’s property;
- Handling of the decedent’s financial responsibilities; and
- Transferring the decedent’s property to the heirs or beneficiaries.
In a probate case, an executor (if there is a Will) or an administrator (if there is no Will) is appointed by the court as personal representative to collect the assets, pay the debts and expenses, and then distribute the remainder of the estate to the heirs or beneficiaries (those who have the legal right to inherit), all under the supervision of the court. The entire case can take between 9 months to 1 ½ years, sometimes longer.
Executors or administrators (also known as personal representatives) have a significant level of power and are entrusted with a great deal of responsibility when settling an estate. Personal representatives have a fiduciary relationship with beneficiaries where they are held to the highest standards. This fiduciary relationship requires that executors and administrators act in the best interests of the beneficiaries at all times. Regardless of the size of the estate or the relationships between and number of the beneficiaries or heirs, probating a Will or administering intestate succession can be a complex, laborious, costly, and draining experience. As a result, a personal representative, when acting in good faith, can make mistakes due to lack of experience or knowledge of California’s probate laws.
I am here to help you
If you are named in a Will as a personal representative or have been appointed executor or administrator by a court, please contact me. I can explain your rights and responsibilities and guide you through every step of the probate process.