Call for Your Consultation Today (424) 383-8445
Probate is a technical, court-supervised, long and complicated process. Hiring a probate attorney with a lot of relevant experience makes a night-and-day difference between long and costly probate and an expeditious, cost-efficient one. At the Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, PC. , we are highly experienced with every step of probate and can help you achieve your goals. Furthermore, we will always explain complex legal concepts in plain English.
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How Does Probate Work?
Probate is the process of either “proving” a decedent's last will or administering the assets. It involves appointing a legal representative of the estate by the probate court, as well as locating, valuing, and collecting the assets of the deceased. It also involves paying creditors, settling government debts (MediCal, IRS, FTB), and distributing the remainder of the estate to the rightful heirs (or will beneficiaries if a will exists).
- When a decedent dies without a will, the court has to appoint an estate administrator. Usually, the next-of-kin will file a petition for probate to begin the process. There is a specific “order of priority” designated in the CA Probate Code as to who has the right to petition the court for probate.
- When the decedent leaves a will, the document names an estate executor and instructs the court how the assets are to be divided. The named executor must “prove” the will by submitting it to the court and initiating probate.
Can Probate Be Avoided?
The only way a decedent's assets escape probate is through a living trust. When the trust becomes the “owner” of all the assets of its creator on the creator's death, nothing is left in his/her individual name to require probate. It is the trust (and not the probate estate) that determines who is in charge and who gets what. Trusts are administered privately, generally without any court involvement.
Probate and trust administration accomplish the same goal—to pass assets from a decedent to his/her heirs—but in two dramatically different ways. We can help you understand your options and what path may be right for you.
Put Our Probate Attorney in Your Corner Today
If you want to avoid complex issues with probate, reach out to the Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, PC. As a lawyer with more than a decade of legal experience, she will be able to guide you through the process as efficiently and stress-free as possible.
Contact our firm at (424) 383-8445 to schedule a consultation with an experienced probate lawyer.