May 18, 2018
If I counted all of the phone calls that our law firm receives that start out with this question it would undoubtedly be in the millions! It’s also very sad. That is because the person who is calling is grieving the loss of their loved one and they are put in a position of “cleaning up” the affairs of someone who passed away without an estate plan.
As a Sacramento County probate lawyer, the answer I have to give when I get this question is, “It depends.”
It depends on how assets were held and what the decedent did to prepare for his or her passing. Generally speaking, if the deceased person did nothing – or even prepared a Last Will & Testament – their estate will probably need to go through a long and expensive probate court proceeding before assets can be distributed to beneficiaries.
If all assets were held in a “payable on death” account or in an account where a beneficiary was designated like life insurance or retirement accounts, they can usually be moved with a death certificate and minimal paperwork. However, it is rare that all assets are held in this manner.
If the deceased person failed to do estate planning, the estate will more often than not require a probate proceeding. All of this could be avoided if the deceased had taken the time to talk to a qualified estate planning attorney and put their affairs in order.
If you find yourself struggling to close out the estate of a loved one today, we can support you in handling the administrative burdens that you are facing and walk you through the Sacramento probate process in the fastest and most cost-effective way possible. Simply call our office at (916) 241- 9661 and schedule a consultation to learn what may be required of you and your family in order to close out your loved one’s estate.