Even under ordinary circumstances, the California probate process can be complicated and take years to complete. When those involved don't understand what they need to do, it can make matters worse. By knowing California probate mistakes to avoid, you can help keep your case on track.
Not Consulting with a California Probate Attorney
If you are facing a probate matter, there are going to be various laws, rules, and obligations that you will be expected to comply with. To the uninitiated, probate can be a convoluted experience wherein it can be easy to make severe and costly mistakes. By meeting with an experienced California probate attorney, you will be able to review your situation with someone who is specialized in this area. Your attorney will be able to explain the process and help you successfully navigate its many requirements.
Failing to Meet Deadlines
Once you begin any legal action, there will be several important deadlines. The probate court will have specific dates that it expects tasks to be completed. If you do not adhere to the schedule, it can create significant issues which will prolong your case. It is never a good idea to miss a court deadline, and doing so will not be looked upon favorably by the judge.
When you are the executor or personal representative of an estate, you will have access to the decedent's financial accounts and other assets and may have to pay the estate's bills. You must not place any of the estate's funds into an account with your own money. This is known as co-mingling, and while it may be a convenient way to transfer funds and pay the estate's expenses, it is absolutely prohibited and could get you into serious trouble with the court.
Not Filing Taxes on Behalf of the Estate
As a personal representative, you are going to be responsible for filing an estate tax return within a certain amount of time following the decedent's death. Do not miss the deadline for doing so, or there could be issues with the IRS.
Not Handling Complicated Heir and Estate Issues
When a will is being probated, it is always possible that an heir may decide to contest its validity. If you are a personal representative and it looks as if there is going to be a will challenge, you need to get in touch with a probate attorney as soon as possible. The same is true if you find that the estate has complicated holdings which are beyond your understanding. For instance, if the decedent left behind a business with various properties and contracts which you don't have the knowledge base to manage effectively, probate counsel can provide the guidance you need to deal with these assets.
At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we have experience with California probate and have the expertise you need to complete your case successfully. Schedule a free consultation today to start planning your solution. https://www.salvolaw.com/