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Probate court in California is the legal process through which the court oversees the distribution of a deceased person’s assets and property. Here is a brief overview of the probate court process in California:

  1. Filing a Petition: The first step is to file a petition with the probate court in the county where the deceased person lived. The petition will include a request to be appointed as the executor of the estate, as well as an inventory of the deceased person’s assets.
  2. Notice to Creditors: Once the petition is filed, the court will issue a notice to creditors, which gives them the opportunity to make claims against the estate.
  3. Appointing an Executor: The court will appoint an executor or personal representative of the estate. This person is responsible for managing the deceased person’s assets, paying off any debts, and distributing property to the heirs.
  4. Inventory and Appraisal: The executor must prepare an inventory and appraisal of all the deceased person’s assets, including real estate, personal property, and financial accounts.
  5. Paying Debts and Taxes: The executor is responsible for paying off any debts or taxes owed by the estate before distributing assets to the heirs.
  6. Distribution of Assets: Once all debts and taxes have been paid, the executor will distribute the remaining assets to the heirs according to the terms of the will, or according to California law if there is no will.

The probate court process in California can take several months or even years, depending on the complexity of the estate and any disputes that may arise. It is often a good idea to work with an experienced probate attorney to help guide you through the process.

A person may need legal representation in probate court for several reasons:

  1. Complexity of the Process: The probate court process can be complex, especially for those who are not familiar with legal proceedings. An experienced probate attorney can help navigate the process and ensure that all legal requirements are met.
  2. Disputes and Challenges: Disputes or challenges to the will or the distribution of assets can arise during probate proceedings. An attorney can help to resolve these disputes and protect the interests of the heirs.
  3. Legal Expertise: An attorney can provide legal expertise and guidance on issues such as tax implications, creditor claims, and distribution of assets. They can also advise on any legal obligations or duties of the executor or personal representative.
  4. Time and Effort: The probate process can be time-consuming and require a significant amount of effort. An attorney can take on much of the workload, allowing the executor or personal representative to focus on other important matters.

In summary, legal representation in probate court can help ensure that the probate process is handled correctly and efficiently, and that the interests of all parties involved are protected.

Here is a step-by-step guide to the probate process:

  1. Filing a Petition: The first step in the probate process is to file a petition with the probate court in the county where the deceased person lived. The petition will ask the court to appoint an executor or personal representative to manage the estate.
  2. Notice to Creditors: The court will issue a notice to creditors, which gives them the opportunity to make claims against the estate. This notice is usually published in a local newspaper and gives creditors a set amount of time to file a claim.
  3. Appointing an Executor: The court will appoint an executor or personal representative to manage the estate. This person is responsible for gathering and managing the deceased person’s assets, paying off any debts or taxes owed, and distributing the remaining assets to the heirs.
  4. Inventory and Appraisal: The executor must prepare an inventory and appraisal of all the deceased person’s assets, including real estate, personal property, and financial accounts. This inventory and appraisal must be filed with the court.
  5. Paying Debts and Taxes: The executor is responsible for paying off any debts or taxes owed by the estate before distributing assets to the heirs. This includes paying off any outstanding bills, settling any lawsuits or claims against the estate, and paying estate taxes if applicable.
  6. Distribution of Assets: Once all debts and taxes have been paid, the executor will distribute the remaining assets to the heirs according to the terms of the will or according to California law if there is no will. The executor must file a final accounting with the court, showing how all the assets were distributed.
  7. Closing the Estate: Once all the assets have been distributed and all legal obligations have been met, the executor can close the estate with the court.

The probate process can be complex and time-consuming, but an experienced probate attorney can guide you through each step of the process and ensure that everything is handled correctly.

An executor and administrator are both individuals who are responsible for managing a deceased person’s estate, but they differ in how they are appointed and the authority they have.

An executor is a person named in the deceased person’s will who is responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will. The executor is appointed by the probate court and has the authority to manage the estate, pay off any debts or taxes owed, and distribute assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.

An administrator, on the other hand, is appointed by the probate court if the deceased person did not name an executor in their will or if the named executor is unable or unwilling to serve. The administrator has the same responsibilities as an executor, but they are appointed by the court instead of being named in the will.

In both cases, the executor or administrator must act in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries, and must follow all applicable laws and regulations. It is important to note that the role of executor or administrator can be complex, and it is often a good idea to work with an experienced probate attorney to ensure that everything is handled correctly.

A probate attorney can help guide a client through the probate process by providing legal advice, support, and guidance every step of the way. Here’s how a probate attorney can assist a client in the probate process:

  1. Initial Consultation: A probate attorney will typically start by meeting with the client to discuss the details of the estate and to explain the probate process. During this initial consultation, the attorney will provide guidance on the steps involved in probate and answer any questions the client may have.
  2. Filing the Petition: The attorney can assist the client with filing the necessary paperwork to initiate the probate process. This includes preparing and filing the petition with the probate court and obtaining the necessary court orders.
  3. Notice to Creditors: The attorney can ensure that the client complies with all legal requirements, including publishing the notice to creditors and responding to any claims filed against the estate.
  4. Inventory and Appraisal: The attorney can assist the executor or administrator with preparing an inventory and appraisal of the deceased person’s assets, including real estate, personal property, and financial accounts.
  5. Paying Debts and Taxes: The attorney can advise the executor or administrator on how to handle debts and taxes owed by the estate, including filing tax returns and negotiating with creditors.
  6. Distribution of Assets: The attorney can ensure that the distribution of assets is handled in accordance with the terms of the will or California law if there is no will. They can help the executor or administrator prepare the final accounting and obtain court approval for the distribution of assets.
  7. Closing the Estate: The attorney can assist with all necessary paperwork and filings to close the estate, including obtaining releases from beneficiaries and transferring assets.

Throughout the probate process, a probate attorney can provide legal advice and support to ensure that the client’s interests are protected and that everything is handled correctly. They can also provide guidance on any legal obligations or duties of the executor or administrator, and help resolve any disputes or challenges that may arise. By working with an experienced probate attorney, clients can feel confident that the probate process will be handled efficiently and effectively.

Probate attorneys typically charge fees for their services based on a variety of factors, including the size and complexity of the estate, the amount of time required to handle the probate process, and the attorney’s level of experience.
It is common for probate attorneys to charge a percentage of the total value of the estate as their fee, typically between 1-5%. However, some attorneys may charge an hourly rate or a flat fee for their services. The specific fee structure will depend on the attorney’s practice and the specific circumstances of the case and the Probate Code.
It is important to note that in most cases, the attorneys here at Probate Authority do not require payment upfront. Instead, we will typically work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they only get paid when the probate process is complete and assets are distributed. This can be helpful for clients who may not have the funds to pay for legal services upfront.
Additionally, probate attorneys may charge additional costs and expenses related to the probate process, such as court filing fees, appraiser fees, and other related expenses. These costs will be itemized and explained to the client upfront, so there are no surprises.
Overall, the cost of hiring a probate attorney will depend on a variety of factors, and it is important to discuss fees and costs upfront to ensure that the client understands what they will be responsible for paying. Working with an experienced probate attorney can be beneficial for clients, as they can help ensure that everything is handled correctly and efficiently, potentially saving the estate time and money in the long run.

The probate process involves settling any outstanding debts and taxes owed by the decedent, including any mortgages or liens on the property. Once these debts are settled, the remaining assets, including the house, will be distributed to the beneficiaries or heirs.
If the house is to be sold as part of the probate process, the executor of the estate or the court-appointed administrator will typically handle the sale. The proceeds from the sale will be used to pay off any outstanding debts and taxes, with the remaining funds distributed to the beneficiaries or heirs in accordance with the will or laws of intestacy.

Typically, during a probate all of the decedent’s property will be sold and the proceeds divided amongst the heirs, as according to the probate judge and Probate Code. The Executor or Administrator will be in charge of hiring the probate realtor. The realtors at Probate Authority have many years of experience with selling homes for top dollar, but to do that the home would need to be cleared out of all the belongings. These belongings consist of furniture, electronics, valuables and clothing. We will refer many different estate sale companies that we have worked with in the past. Also, the probate realtors can help with any donations of clothing or wheelchairs to needy organizations.

The home is probably the biggest asset in the estate and therefore must be prepared in a way to make it appealing to the buyers, in order to get top dollar. The realtors at Probate Authority are some of the most experienced realtors with 1000’s of home sales, all throughout California. Readying the home is very important. The realtor will help the administrator to make any decision to gain the highest offers possible, with the least amount of stress.

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When you lose someone you love, the least of your worries should be handling legal obligations and paperwork. Partner with our attorneys and rest easy knowing you are in the best hands.  Allow our team of expert probate attorneys to ease your burden.

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WHAT IS PROBATE?

Probate may be defined as the “Court supervised process of proving a Will document”.  It also means the duly court authorized qualification and appointment of an executor of the estate. 

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