If you haven’t been through the process, thinking about what happens in a probate case can be confusing or even anxiety-producing. Furthermore, not knowing the procedures and what to expect can make matters more daunting. By having a basic idea of how a probate case works, you can be better prepared and less intimidated by the experience.
What Does the Probate Court do?
In California, the probate court has jurisdiction over different types of cases. In a “probate” case, after a person dies, the probate court determines if a will exists and is valid. The first step occurs when a will, and petition are filed with the probate court. If there is not a will, a petition will be filed. The probate court will review the documents and, if they are accepted, appoint a personal representative (with a will) or an administrator (without a will) to oversee the estate’s administration during the probate case.
Notice and Accounting
The personal representative or administrator will be appointed and granted legal authority to access the decedent’s financial accounts and records. This person will mail notices to beneficiaries and known creditors that the estate is in probate. Then they will conduct a detailed accounting and inventory of the estate that will be reported to the court.
Paying Estate Debts
Creditors will have a chance to make claims against the estate that the representative or administrator will approve or deny. Unpaid taxes must also be resolved. Once the outstanding debts are settled, they will file federal and state tax returns until the probate case is over.
Paying Estate Heirs
Once all of the debts are paid, any remaining funds or assets can be given to the estate’s heirs. The representative or administrator can then complete any final administrative tasks with the probate court and ask that the case be closed.
These are some of the steps that will take place during California probate. However, different factors and issues can arise that can change the direction of a case. At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we are dedicated, professional, California probate attorneys with the experience you need to manage all aspects of your probate case. Schedule a consultation today to learn more and start your solution.