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FAQs: Probate

Answered by a Sacramento Probate Attorney

For the layman, probate can be a very complex process. With over 25 years of experience representing executors and administrators in probate proceedings, Sacramento Probate Attorney, Nick Yonano is pleased to provide information and insight about the probate process.

Attorney Yonano is a member of several United States district courts, and the United States Supreme Court Bar. As a licensed real estate broker with extensive knowledge of California's real estate and probate laws, he is more than qualified to help you. Please contact our office directly – we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Below we have provided a list of frequently asked questions about probate:

  • What is probate? - Probate is a court-supervised process of validating a will as authentic, paying all debts and claims (including taxes) against an estate, and distributing what's left to the beneficiaries.

  • Does all property pass through probate? - Not necessarily. Some types of property do not pass through probate because of how property is titled. If property is owned in joint tenancy, or community property with right of survivorship, or if it's a bank account owned by several people, or a bank account with a payable on death beneficiary, then none of those would be subject to probate because they pass automatically to the survivor.

  • Do all estates have to go through probate? - If the estate is worth less than $150,000 then probate may not be necessary. There is a simplified process that may be applicable; however, it cannot be used for real property such as a home. If the decedent's property is worth over $150,000, then probate is required.

  • What types of property are not subject to probate? - Some examples of property that is not subject to probate includes: payable on death bank accounts, life insurance policies that name a beneficiary, property owned in joint tenancy or community property, retirement accounts with beneficiaries, and property held in a trust.

  • When do I need to start probate proceedings? - The person holding the decedent's will must take the original will to the probate clerk's office within 30 days of the decedent's death. If the custodian of the will does not do this, he or she can be sued for damages caused.

  • How long does probate take? - A California probate case typically takes between 9 months and 1.5 years, but it can take longer, especially when real estate needs to be sold.

  • Do I need an attorney? - Yes, absolutely. Probate is very complicated and involves notifying creditors, beneficiaries, and providing accounting records to the court. Executors and administrators are held to the highest standards of fiduciary duty and if they error and cause damage to the estate, they can be held legally and financially accountable. It's always best for executors to retain a qualified probate attorney during the process.

Legal Representation for Executors & Administrators

We can inform you of your rights and responsibilities, and navigate you through the probate process so you can perform your duties as seamlessly and efficiently as possible.

If you have been appointed to settle a Sacramento estate, we urge you to contact Yonano Law Offices, P.C. for professional assistance.

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