When a loved one passes away, you may be tasked with the responsibility of executing their estate. In some circumstances, this may mean that you will need to go through probate to ensure that the assets are distributed according to your loved one's final wishes.
There are many misconceptions about the California probate process, and we wanted to take a few moments to discuss some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive at our firm.
Not all property may need to go through the probate process
The amount of assets involved in the estate will determine if probate is necessary. If the deceased did not have significant assets, it is possible that the property could be distributed without going through the process.
Probate also will not be necessary to transfer a home to a surviving spouse, if the couple owned it together at the time of death. Life insurance and retirement benefits can also be directly distributed to intended beneficiaries without needing probate. It is extremely important that you know and understand the specific requirements at this time, or it could lead to serious problems in the future.
The expense and time associated with the process will depend upon various factors
If done incorrectly, probate can be very timely and expensive. The costs and timeframe can potentially be reduced if you follow all of the steps properly. The size of the estate will also have an impact upon the costs associated with the process, and there are measures that you can take that may prevent certain items from being subject to probate. One very important to know - any challenges to the estate will drastically increase the time and expenses associated with probate.
You need an experienced probate attorney to help you
Probate can be very complicated, and it is essential that you follow these requirements in a timely manner or it will only add to the time it takes for it to complete. Additionally, the estate that is involved in your situation may have very unique issues that could cause severe problems if things are not done properly.
An experienced probate attorney will be able to guide you through the entire process, and offer you crucial guidance when you face important questions. Your attorney will help you prepare for any challenges that you may encounter, and also help you address any disputes by family members concerning the will or trusts of the estate.