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Probate Process in California

If your loved one has passed away, you may have to go to probate court. In California, you may not need to go through the probate process if the decedent’s estate is valued at less than $150,000. A simpler process may be used in this situation. However, if the estate’s value exceeds $150,000, you will need to begin the probate process. At Yonano Law Offices, P.C., our compassionate Sacramento probate attorney has nearly 20 years of experience and can guide you through the legal process.

What Is Probate?

Put simply, probate is the legal method to inherit, distribute, and transfer property after someone dies. Depending on the size and complexity of the decedent’s estate, the process can last anywhere from 9 months to 1 ½ years, or longer. The probate process involves determining the validity of the will, transferring property to heirs and beneficiaries, and handling financial responsibilities and debts of the person who passed away.

What Does the Probate Process Look Like?

Typically, once a person dies, the custodian of the will has 30 days to take the original will to the probate court clerk’s office. The custodian must also send a copy of the will to the executor of the estate. If the will does not appoint an executor, the copy may be sent to a beneficiary. However, if there is no will, the court will appoint an administrator to handle the estate and perform the duties of the executor.

To start the process, the executor or administrator must file a Petition for Probate. There are 3 different options for this petition. They are:

  • Petition for Letters of Administration
  • Petition for Probate of Will and for Letters Testamentary
  • Petition for Probate of Will and for Letters of Administration with Will Annexed

If you need assistance deciding which form to file, our knowledgeable Sacramento probate lawyer can analyze your situation and provide quality legal assistance. After the petition is filed with the probate court, the clerk will schedule a hearing. The executor must notify all family members and anyone who is entitled to a portion of the estate. A court probate examiner will review the petition to ensure it includes the proper information, and ask the petitioner to correct any mistakes. Once this is done, the executor must file an Inventory and Appraisal form.

This form will outline a list of the fair market values of currencies, moneys, bank accounts, cash items, deposits in financial institutions, life and accident insurance policy proceeds, and other assets of the decedent. The executor must also notify the decedent’s creditors with a Notice of Administration to Creditors form, as well as pay any debts or taxes the decedent owed using the proceeds of the estate. In addition, the executor must prepare a final personal income tax return for the person who passed away.

Call Yonano Law Offices, P.C. Today at (916) 343-8488

For a variety of probate issues, our firm can provide informative legal services. Probate court divides the estate of the person who died, and determines who gets what according to the will. If the estate is complicated, there is no will, or the claim is disputed by other interested parties, having a knowledgeable probate lawyer by your side can help the process go smoothly. We can discuss the facts of your situation and tenaciously represent you in court.

Our firm cares about each client, and we can strive to find effective solutions for your case. If you need legal assistance in Sacramento, our dedicated probate attorney can provide the legal assistance you need as you seek a favorable outcome. With our services, you can receive diligent, personal attention for your case.

Contact our firm today for a free consultation.