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What You Must Know about California Probate

12/15/2022 | Probate
What You Must Know About California Probate

Having to navigate the probate process after a loved one’s death can be stressful.  This unfamiliar area has seemingly endless rules and requirements which are confusing and difficult to understand.  By taking time to learn about this process before it becomes a necessary part of your life, you can help avoid expensive and time-consuming mistakes.  Here is what you must know about California probate:

It Takes Time

Probate is an involved process during which beneficiaries are probably going to have to wait a long time to finish.  It comes as a surprise to many that a California probate case can last as long as nine to eighteen months or even years.   The length of the case depends on several factors, such as whether or not anyone contests the decedent’s will, or if the personal representative fails to perform a required duty.

There May not be Anything Left

When someone passes away, their appointed personal representative will be responsible for conducting an inventory of the estate assets and notifying creditors of the debtor’s death. Once the creditors have received notice, they will have a chance to make claims against the estate.  If the decedent passes away with more debts than assets, their heirs will not receive an inheritance from the estate.  If there are some assets left, but not enough to pay all of an inheritance, the heirs will receive a reduced amount.

There are Simplified Processes

Whether or not you have to go through probate will depend on multiple issues such as how much money was left in the estate, who is claiming the property involved, and what types of assets are at issue.  You may not have to go through California probate to obtain title to specific property.  For instance, assets, such as a joint banking account, may automatically pass to the other account holder. Additionally, an insurance benefit payment or retirement account can be paid to any named beneficiaries outside of probate.

It’s a Public Process

Probate is a public legal process which means that the value of your assets, the names of your beneficiaries, and the provisions of your will, are available for anyone to view.  Even if you pass without a will, information about your assets and estate will still be part of the court record and therefore, public information.

At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we have experienced attorneys who are knowledgeable about California probate and can help you understand the process and plan for the future. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.