Did you know that although you have a will, your estate can be subject to probate? Although the probate process can be complicated in the state of California and can vary depending on the types of assets that the deceased owned, the website of the California Court states that probate is, in layman terms, the legal process via which an executor can administer an estate, and conduct distribution of assets to all beneficiaries.
If you are current executor of an estate, you might be asking the question: “Why do I need a lawyer?” The simplest answer to this question is that, as mentioned above, the California probate process can be complicated, and you can benefit greatly from having an experienced probate lawyer in Santa Rosa to make sure that the process goes in the smoothest manner possible.
Overview of Probate in California
Now that you understand a little more about what is involved in the probate process, how will you know who will conduct the administering of the estate? When the will names an executor, that person will administer the estate. On the other hand, if there is no will, an administrator will be appointed by the court. Typically, the executor will handle certain tasks that include the following:
- Dealing with the deceased’s financial responsibilities, including paying funeral expenses and remaining debts.
- Distributing or transferring the property of the deceased to the beneficiaries.
Why You May Need a Lawyer
While you may be able to go through the probate process without a lawyer, it is important that you make sure that every step of the probate process is completed according to the laws in California. With the help of an experienced probate lawyer, you can determine whether or not probate is necessary as well as whether or not certain assets may be expected from the probate process.
Depending on the estate size and the types of property that the deceased owned, it may not be necessary to go through the probate process. In most cases, if the estate value is less than $150,000, it may not be necessary to go to court. Additionally, if the property of the deceased is jointly owned, say by a spouse, then it might not be necessary for that property to go through the probate process. An experienced probate lawyer can discuss other means and methods to transfer certain types of property without having to go through the probate process, and can guide about estate planning options.
If you have questions about probate or estate planning, you should seek the help of an experienced probate lawyer at Johnston Thomas Law. Call us today at 707-545-6542 for expert counsel on drafting your will!