When someone dies, his or her estate must often pass through a process known as “probate.” The estate cannot be settled until this process is complete. Because probate in California can be lengthy and expensive, it is best to have a skilled attorney on your side if you are involved in a probate case.
Matters handled by probate courts are estate administrations, conservatorships, guardianships and litigation associated with these proceedings.
Probate is a legal process designed to ensure that a person’s estate is settled after his or her death. Typically the proceeding begins with petitioning the court for appointment of an estate representative who is responsible for overseeing the process from beginning to end. The estate will pay the deceased person’s outstanding debts with estate assets, and after all, debts are paid the remaining assets will be distributed to the deceased person’s heirs in accordance with a will or if no will exists in accordance with state law.
In some cases, an interested party may contest the will or bring legal action against the estate representative. Either of these situations will lengthen and complicate the probate process.
Conservatorships & Guardianships
If a loved adult is physically or mentally no longer able to take care of his or her affairs a family member often seeks to be appointed as conservator over the person and the estate (assets and monies) to ensure that proper care is provided, and assets properly used.
The process can be complicated, and an attorney can guide you and help you understand the process. Most persons find the conservatorship process daunting and prefer to engage an attorney to deal with the many requirements imposed by law and the court.
A Guardianship involves minors, not adults and is similar to the conservatorship process. Assistance by an attorney is recommended in most cases.
About Probate in California
Probate is a legal process designed to ensure that a person’s estate is settled after his or her death. Probate typically begins with the election of an estate administrator or executor, who is responsible for overseeing the process from beginning to end. During the process, the administrator will pay all of the deceased person’s outstanding debts with the estate’s assets.
After all of the debts have been paid, the remaining assets will be distributed to the deceased person’s heirs in accordance with the will. If no will was made, these assets will be distributed in accordance with state law.
In some cases, an interested party may contest the will or bring legal action against the estate administrator. Either of these situations will lengthen and complicate the probate process.
Hiring a Probate Attorney
If you are involved in a probated estate, consulting an attorney can be beneficial. If you are the executor of the estate, an attorney can help you ensure that all of the requirements of the law are satisfied and that the instructions left behind by the deceased person are followed accurately.
If you are an heir or another interested party that has not been named administrator, consulting an attorney can help you understand the process and address any questions or concerns you may have.
Here at the Elke Gordon Schardt Law Office, we understand all of the nuances of probate law in California. Regardless of your role in the case, we can help you decipher the law and select the best course of action.