Probate is a court-supervised process for transferring ownership of a person’s assets after death. This process confirms the person’s will and distributes property in accordance with the will. If the decedent died without leaving a will or other legal paradigm for transferring assets, the estate may still go through probate.
The purpose of probate is to safeguard the rights of heirs, beneficiaries, and those with a stake in an estate. Probate also establishes the estate’s tax and creditor obligations.
If a person dies intestate (without a will or a trust), the decedent’s property is distributed to the decedent’s closest relatives (heirs) in the order that the state deems appropriate. If the decedent had a home or other real property that was not held in joint tenancy and the heir was not the surviving spouse, the decedent’s estate must be probated before the property may be passed to the heirs.
The executor/trustee is in charge of collecting the estate’s assets and creating an inventory of the property. If a deceased individual has debts owed, the executor/trustee is in charge of collecting money from the estate, settling debts/expenses, and distributing the remaining assets in accordance with the will (or intestate, according to California statutes). Before distributing residual assets and terminating the estate, the executor/trustee may need to liquidate or sell assets to settle debts.
Subject to certain constraints, the personal representative might be an individual, a bank, or a trust corporation. Personal representatives can be either California residents or spouses, siblings, parents, children, or certain other close relatives. A personal representative can be a trust business formed under California law or a financial institution that functions in California.
While no two probate processes are identical, the following are some common obligations of an executor/representative:
This is determined by your personal properties and assets. We invite you to contact the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo to discuss your alternatives. Here are some probate-avoidance tools and strategies:
The Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo highly advises the executor to retain the services of a law firm to assist in estate administration. An experienced probate and estate planning attorney should draft the documentation needed to open and close the estate, as well as counsel you through this legally complex process. We take satisfaction in being able to help with every aspect of estate administration at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo. Call us today or fill out our online contact form.