Probate Administration in California
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is not an easy process. In addition to grief, loved ones are left behind to handle the estate of the departed. This may include homes, land, debts, businesses, vehicles, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mineral rights, boats, personal aircrafts, etc. In California, when a person dies with assets totalling $150,000 or more, the decedent’s estate will likely need to be probated. Probate is a court-supervised distribution of a decedent’s estate. The probate process is complicated and lengthy. The probate attorneys at Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin are well versed in the probate process and procedure.
The Probate Process
The probate process can take up to a year and, in some case, more than a year. It begins when a petition for probate is filed with the probate court. Typically, when a person dies with a will, the will names an executor of the estate and one or more successor executors, should the named executor be unable to serve. When this is the case, the named executor or a successor files a petition for probate. When a person dies without a will, generally, anyone with an interest in the decedent’s estate can initiate probate proceedings.
The probate court will issue letters of testamentary to the executor or a personal representative that will allow them to collect the assets of the decedent. The issuance of letters may be conditioned on the executor or personal representative obtaining a surety bond. Some individuals may not quality for a surety bond.
The executor or personal representative collects the decedent’s assets and files a inventory and appraisal with the probate court. The personal representative or executor satisfies debts and creditor’s claims using the assets of the decedent’s estate. An accounting of the estate is typically filed with the court unless waived by the beneficiaries. Once the court approves the accounting and proposed distributions, the assets will be distributed.
Cost of Probate
The total cost of probating an estate typically depends on the size of the estate. Attorney fees are set by statute and are generally not payable until court approval is obtained. The executor or personal representative may also be entitled to a fee for services rendered. If you are the named executor of a will or otherwise would like to initiate probate proceedings, it is best to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced probate attorney.
Our Firm’s Probate Practice
The probate attorneys at Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin have knowledgeable and practical experience in probating estates. Our attorneys keep current on probate law and procedure. Our experienced probate attorneys will meet with you to discuss the decedent’s estate, the probate process, and the duties and liabilities of serving as an executor or personal representative.