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An executor must ensure the deceased’s assets are distributed fairly to the heirs, with or without a will. For legal assistance in estate administration and distribution in California, call Hess-Verdon probate attorney at (949) 706-7300.
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HESS-VERDON – #1 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TRUST & ESTATE LAW FIRM
The Probate Process
To distribute the deceased’s assets among his/her heirs, the executor must consult the probate court. In the presence of a will, the probate process is straightforward. If there is no will, the state’s intestate laws kick in, with the potential to protract and complicate matters.
Probate can take several years for large estates, especially if individuals seeking to contest the will file court petitions. For smaller estates, the probate process has fewer headaches.
It pays to work with a probate attorney whether or not there is a will. At Hess-Verdon, our doors are open to help you deal with all kinds of probate matters in California. We are the state’s leading probate lawyers.
What Is a Probate Lawyer?
Probate lawyers are state-licensed attorneys who deal with the affairs of a deceased person’s estate. If the deceased had shifted his/her assets to a trust, this consequentially helps to avoid probate. The trustee of the asset will transfer those assets to the named beneficiaries without involving the courts.
If there is a will, the probate process involves proving the will and implementing the actual distributions per the decedent’s wishes. If there is no will, the probate process entails getting the courts to appoint an executor and distributing the estate per the state’s intestate laws.
What is a Probate Lawyer Do?
Probate lawyers are also known as estate attorneys, and their involvement varies per the specific circumstances of the estate. If the decedent had a last will when they died, the involvement of the probate lawyer would depend on the value of their assets. The probate lawyer can help prove the will’s validity and attain compliance with estate taxation, administration, and distribution.
In the absence of a will, the probate lawyer works with the court-appointed executor to ensure a fast and seamless distribution process for the decedent’s estate.
Why Would You Need a Probate Lawyer?
In both cases, an executor or heir may need the help of a probate lawyer for the following tasks:
- Recovering the proceeds of a life insurance policy
- Asset identification and asset protection
- Appraising the decedent’s property
- Helping to pay bills and debts
- Obtaining and preparing all court-required documents
- Making sure inheritance and estate tax debts are satisfied.
- Paying income taxes
Accounting and distributions
- Keeping track of estate checking accounts
- Transferring the deceased’s assets to the proper beneficiaries
- Paying all obligations and taxes before making a final distribution to beneficiaries
- Contesting a will
- Defending the validity of a will
- Defending an executor against removal and liability claims
- Solving beneficiary-related disputes
Trust vs. Probate
You effectively get to avoid probate when you transfer your property to your family through a trust. You can use a revocable/living trust or an irrevocable trust. You (the trustor) can amend a revocable trust at any time during your life. An irrevocable trust is unamendable except with permission from the named beneficiaries.
When the trustor dies, the trust becomes operational. Trusts do not pass property through the probate court system, unlike wills. Once the trust is established, it is free of a court or attorney fees. Your assets directly pass to your beneficiaries based on the trust’s terms you created with the trust.
The probate is long and protracted. Many families try to avoid it by all means possible, including trusts and other estate planning tools. A lengthy probate process can cause your heirs to waste months handling your estate. Due to court costs and attorney fees, they could quickly lose 2 to 4 % of your estate in the process.
When your family should be grieving your passing, they may travel back and forth to court hearings. For this reason, we encourage clients to look into estate planning. The right type of trust doesn’t just help to skip probate. It saves you from burdensome estate taxes and helps your assets to grow.
In contrast to a trust, your will does go through probate upon your death. As opposed to creating a will, you may choose to create a trust to simplify transferring your estate after your death and avoid a costly and lengthy probate process. At the least, make a will. Don’t die intestate. Intestate probate is the longest and costliest. A will is generally less expensive and easier to set up.
Please contact Hess-Verdon if you have any questions. We help people like you every day on probate, trust, and other estate planning matters. Call us at (949) 706-7300.
Newport Beach Estate Attorneys Near Me
Hess-Verdon is in Newport Beach. We have over 30 years’ experience in estate planning law. We have helped many clients protect their estate, grow their estate, and pass it down to their loved ones through various legal instruments.
- Probate Litigation
- What happens if you don’t probate a Will
- What an Executor of an estate cannot do
- Does the Executor have the final say?
Are you looking for a probate attorney in the Newport Beach area? When it comes to the practice of trust and estates, it can be difficult finding an attorney that’s experienced in handling your specific issues.
With over 30+ years of law, 3000+ clients throughout our tenure,
you can receive in-depth legal counsel today.
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