What is Probate?
If you or, more likely, your parents, created an old-fashioned will, or you, or your parents have no will or trust, then a process must be initiated in Superior Court called Probate. Probate is the court supervision of the administration of a person’s estate. If there is a valid will, the court will oversee the distribution of the gifts contained in that will. If there is no will then the court will impose California state law to determine the rightful heirs of an estate.
In both instances, a petition must be filed with the Superior Court and some, most or all of the actions taken by the Executor to collect the assets and distribute them to the next generation will have to be approved by a judge. Court costs and attorney’s fees are determined and ordered by the court and can be very costly even for a small estate.
A probate can be particularly burdensome when dealing with real property. Often when there is no will, a judge must approve a sale and sometimes orders an auction in court to sell a property.
The probate process takes a minimum of eight months, and can often take a year or more. An attorney is almost always needed to help an Executor through the probate process.
To avoid probate all together most people choose to do a revocable living trust instead of a will.
If you have questions about probate or revocable living trusts, please call us at 661-291-1631 and visit www.kellerlawfirm.com.
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