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Questions About Probate In California

Probate is one of the biggest concerns of many of my estate planning clients. They have heard horror stories about the process and want to make sure that they are doing what they can to minimize the impact that it has upon an estate.

I wanted to take a few moments to answer the most common questions that I receive about probate. If you have questions about your case or need more detailed information about issues present in your specific situation, I invite you to schedule a consultation to learn more about your options.

What is probate?

A: In short, probate is simply the court-supervised process used in California to transfer the property of the decedent to his or her beneficiaries. Any assets that are subject to the probate process can be tied up by the courts while the estate is being administered. These assets can include cash, real property, and any other belongings of the deceased.

Once all assets are collected, the estate can pay certain debts submitted during probate. Once a specific period has passed (months or years, depending on the complexity of the estate) and after the filing of an account, report, and petition for final distribution is approved by the court, the remaining assets will be transferred to the beneficiaries entitled to receive such property.

How long does probate take?

A: The amount of time it can take to probate an estate will depend upon the complexities involved in the estate. Simple estates that do not have a lot of assets or debts can be completed much more efficiently than those estates with significant assets. I can help you determine the specific timeline that may apply in your case during our initial consultation.

Are there ways for me to avoid having my estate go through probate?

A: Yes. The best way to avoid the probate process is to create an estate plan that takes full advantage of all of the options available to you. Working with an estate planning attorney will help you determine the right steps to take to best protect your family from a long, expensive, and frustrating trip through probate.