Probate & Estate Administration
When a loved one passes, they frequently leave assets and liabilities that need to be addressed. We specialize in probate proceedings and estate administration – regardless of whether it’s contested or uncontested. We also specialize in probate in context of other countries (i.e. will drafted abroad but death occurred in California) and much more.
- Probate. Probate is a legal process, overseen by the courts, by which the assets are transferred from the name of the decedent (person who died) to the beneficiaries (people who are named in the will, such as children, grandchildren, relatives, etc.). For probate, a lawyer is retained to handle the matter as well as to litigate if the estate is contested. Probate is only needed when there were assets that were subject to a will or when the decedent had no will.
- Estate Administration. Estate administration is a process of transferring assets to the beneficiaries (people who are named in the will, such as children, grandchildren, relatives, etc.) pursuant to the terms of a trust agreement.
- Small Estate. A small estate is a simplified process which addresses the assets valued below a certain amount set by the court.
- Settlements. Settlement in context of probate and estate administration is a process where beneficiaries agree to certain terms and conditions of distribution. It is an important tool that settles many contested issues, saving on legal fees and expenses.
What is an estate?
An estate is property owned by the decedent (the person who died).
When does probate start?
Probate is typically filed upon death of the person to whom the estate belonged to.
Who is a personal representative?
A personal representative is a fiduciary, called either an executor or an administrator, that is appointed in order to administer an estate and carry out orders of the court.
How long does probate take?
This depends on the estate, whether it’s contested, and the caseload of the court. It could last from 6 months to several years.
What amount qualifies for a small estate?
The amount always changes due to various factors. Contact our office for more information.
Can probate be avoided?
Yes. Revocable trusts, pay-on-death accounts and registrations, joint ownership of property and gifts are all ways to avoid probate.