What is California Probate?

San Francisco Probate Litigation Lawyers Answer Questions About California Probate Law

Photo of a legal documentThe many complex state laws that govern the probate process can make the act of sorting through an estate daunting. California imposes many requirements upon beneficiaries and fiduciaries alike. Fortunately, our probate litigation attorneys understand California probate laws and can guide clients through the process. As a certified specialist, attorney Charles Triay must stay up to date with the state’s evolving probate laws. Our California probate litigation lawyer can let you know when someone is unfairly abusing the system for their own benefit. We can then work with you to rectify the situation.

What Happens During Probate in California?

If a deceased loved one left behind a will, it should name an executor who will start the process. Without a will, a family member may ask the court to be the administrator for the estate, or the family may appoint a professional to administer the intestate estate. Anyone who may be a beneficiary should receive notice of the estate in probate.

The person in charge of the estate must gather the deceased individual’s assets, pay any debts, and file taxes on an estate. The executor or administrator must also file all accountings of the estate with the probate court.

The executor or administrator will file a final petition for distribution of the assets. A hearing date will be set and a judge will sign for the final distribution. Finally, the assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries and the executor or administrator will file a declaration for final discharge.

These are just the basics. The process can be significantly more complicated than this. Our probate lawyers can answer any questions about the probate process.

How Can I Skip or Speed up the Probate Process in California?

California provides some shortcuts for beneficiaries in certain situations so they can quickly receive property left by a deceased loved one. Some ways you can make the probate process easier or eliminate it altogether include:

  • Spousal Property Petition – When an individual dies, that person’s surviving spouse can use the spousal property petition to transfer assets. This process takes significantly less time and with lower costs than probate. The surviving spouse may receive any amount of assets through this transfer.
  • Declaration – If a loved one has personal property worth $150,000 or less, heirs may receive this property through a declaration. This speeds up the probate process, but it has limitations. The process has a 40-day waiting period after the decedent’s death. Additionally, beneficiaries may not receive real property, such as land or buildings.

These are not the only methods that exist to shorten or eliminate the probate process in California. Talk to a probate lawyer to find out if you are eligible for a probate shortcut.

Where Can I Find a Probate Litigation Lawyer in the Bay Area?

Probate can be a difficult process. This can become even more complicated if a beneficiary contests the accountings or otherwise believes the probate is unjust. Our attorneys are always ready to assist with California probate law. Our probate litigation attorney fees allow us to work hourly or through contingency fee agreements. Call our law office today to find out how we can assist you.