After the loss of a loved one, it can difficult to determine what to do next—getting affairs in order, arranging for memorial services, and spending time in mourning and remembrance. In the midst of all this upheaval, the last thing you need is the stress of a long, drawn-out probate proceeding, involving all the fees, taxes, and financial requirements once a loved one has died. At the Evans Law Firm, our San Francisco probate lawyers want to make this time easier for you, and can help you maneuver the probate process efficiently, so as to allow you more time with your family and loved ones in this difficult time.
First, our attorneys will determine whether a probate proceeding will be necessary, and act accordingly. If the estate is small enough, you may be able to avoid probate court, and distribute the assets as needed. Living trusts and real property held by joint tenants can also skip the probate process. If the estate does require probate proceedings, our attorneys will help you determine what should happen next.
Probate and Wills
Probate can be established with or without a will in the state of California. If a valid will exists, an experienced San Francisco probate attorney will prepare the petition for probate, and file the appropriate paperwork to notify the beneficiaries, heirs, and other documentation. At this point, only the executor named in the will has legal standing regarding the estate, and the distribution will be determined at a hearing in Probate Court.
If the deceased did not make a will, this is known as an intestate estate. In this case, a probate estate will be established, and distributed in accordance with California’s laws. The probate judge will appoint an administrator, who will act as the deceased’s representative, and handle the gathering of the assets and the distribution of the estate, and will identify the creditors of the estate. This administrator could be selected from the beneficiaries of the estate, and has duties similar to those of an executor as appointed by a person’s last will and testament. If you have been appointed an Administrator of a probate estate, our San Francisco probate attorneys will help you identify the creditors of your relative’s estate, and handle the paperwork involved, which all the creditors will have to sign.
Once a probate petition has been filed, the notice period of 120 days from the date that the letters have been issued and the notice to the creditors has been sent begins. In this time period, you and your attorney will work together to pay the deceased’s debts and creditors, and prepare an inventory of the assets. In this inventory, fees and fines are taken into account, and the total amount of the estate is provided for division between the beneficiaries. Once all the assets have been distributed, the probate proceeding is considered closed.
Our San Francisco probate lawyers want to help ease your mind in your time of need, and take on as much of the legal burden as possible when you are left to handle a loved one’s affairs after their death. For a free, no-strings consultation, contact the Evans Law Firm at 415.441.6889 or online at www.evanslaw.com today.