Californian residents who are dealing with the aftermath of the passing of a loved one will likely have to go through the probate process. This can be somewhat complex and difficult to deal with, but there are ways to get through.
FindLaw takes a look at the basics of this process, including what happens during probate. First, probate is either contested or uncontested. If it's uncontested, proceedings can go according to the decedent's will as planned. If contested, it means someone closed to the decedent believes they were left unfairly out of the proceedings. Such issues can arise if it is believed the decedent wasn't in their right mind when writing their will or if they were believed to be under undue influence at the time. Uncontested probate is much more common, however.
The probate process itself deals with a number of things, including:
- Collecting the decedent's probate property
- Collecting the rights to income, dividends and so on
- Paying off any claims, taxes or debts
- Settling remaining disputes
- Distributing remaining property to heirs
Some people may believe that being an estate administrator or handling the probate process is a much lighter load of responsibilities. However, if you are handling this process, you will be dealing with all manners of the decedent's property.
Due to the complex nature of probate, many people who tackle this will also use the help of an attorney. Having someone who understands probate law on your side can help reduce the possibility of running into sticky situations.