Probate Law

Cerritos Probate Law Attorney

A Goal-Oriented and Attentive Lawyer to Guide You Through California Probate

Probate court is not a fun process, and it can drag on for months. However, probate has a bit of a bad reputation in the world of estate planning, and most of the talk concerning probate is about how to avoid it. While people often agree that avoiding probate can be a good idea in many cases, it’s helpful to at least understand the probate process so that you can form the best plan for yourself.

At Anyama Law Firm, we will walk you through every basic step of probate to ensure your questions are answered. We are led by a goal-oriented lawyer who will provide the personalized attention and detailed approach you need to understand probate in the context of your unique situation. 

Schedule a free initial consultation with Anyama Law Firm to get started.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a court case dealing with estate matters like:

  • deciding if a will exists and is valid;
  • figuring out who the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries are;
  • determining how much the decedent’s property is worth;
  • taking care of the decedent’s financial responsibilities; and
  • transferring the decedent’s property to the heirs or beneficiaries.

The probate process involves an executor (if there is a will) or an administrator (if there is no will) being appointed by the court as a personal representative to collect assets, pay the debts and expenses, and then distribute the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries who have the legal right to inherit. The entire probate process can take months to years, depending on the estate.

An Overview of the Probate Process

If you have property that needs to go through probate or a will that must go through the court, the process may look like the following:

  1. The executor files the will, along with a document called a "Petition for Probate," with the probate court in the county where the deceased person lived. Formal notices should be given to beneficiaries, particular family members, and creditors. 
  2. The will, if there is one, must be shown to be legally valid, usually done by having the witnesses sign a sworn statement submitted to the court. 
  3. The court will issue "Letters Testamentary" or "Letters of Administration," appointing an executor and granting them authority over estate assets.
  4. The executor can begin gathering the deceased person's assets. They will need to compile and file with the court an inventory and appraisal of all probate property. They may also need to apply for a taxpayer ID number for the estate and open an estate bank account. 
  5. In most cases, the executor can sell estate property, pay taxes, and approve or reject claims from creditors without court supervision. However, acts like selling real estate require probate court approval. 
  6. The executor is responsible for keeping all assets safe (e.g., a home must be insured and maintained, heirlooms safeguarded from theft or damage). They must also file tax returns for the deceased person and the estate.
  7. California creditors have 4 months to come forward with their claims. Note that most estates don't receive formal claims from creditors; the executor will instead pay outstanding bills.
  8. After all bills and taxes have been paid, the executor can ask the court to close the estate. At this point, the executor can distribute all the estate assets to the people who inherit them.

Probate can be tricky and confusing to navigate, whether you are an executor, administrator, or beneficiary. An experienced probate lawyer can better help clarify the process. Probate can seem daunting, but it is not that difficult to navigate with the right guidance. Our firm has over a decade of experience working with California clients, and our smaller size allows us to provide more personalized, detail-oriented attention to each of our clients.

Let Anyama Law Firm help you through your probate case today. Schedule a free consultation online to get started. Serving Los Angeles, Orange County, and all of California.

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