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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Things That Can Slow Down the Sacramento County Probate Process

August 28, 2012

Probate lawyers in Sacramento are very familiar with the court proceedings that must take place in order to get an estate through probate. Probate itself is a process that the state has set up in order to legally disperse your estate when you haven’t set up trusts or engaged in certain other types of estate planning. Even having a will isn’t enough to avoid probate, which means many estates end up in the courts before heirs and beneficiaries are able to claim their property.

Probate laws have been put in place to handle the legal aspects of what becomes of your assets, debts, etc. after you die. Probate lawyers in Sacramento County understand how frustrating this process can be for families who are in the midst of grief and must now wait even longer to get their loved one’s affairs in order.

What Slows Down the Probate Process in Sacramento

While there are several things that can slow down the process, probate lawyers in Sacramento regularly see the following complications arise:

  • Bickering beneficiaries. While one would hope that those left behind were willing to simply accept the court’s decisions that is certainly not always the case. Heirs and potential heirs have been known to hold up the probate process for years by fighting over who gets what, what they believe is fair, and even whether or not a will is valid.
  • Unique assets. Because Sacramento probate law is set up as sort of a one-size-fits-all approach, it isn’t always equipped to handle more unusual circumstances. When the decedent leaves behind unusual assets (maybe hard-to-value collectibles or legal patents, for example), it will generally take the court longer to determine how they should be handled.
  • Combined estates. When two or more family members pass away close to each other, the probate process can get trickier. One example might be when a husband passes away before his second wife. According to California law, the wife probably inherited his estate, even if he has children from the previous marriage. When she passes away without a proper plan, both hers and the husband’s pass to her biological children. It’s not hard to see how this could create some significant family problems.

Speeding Up the Probate Process

There’s generally not a whole lot that can be done to speed up the process, although hiring a reputable probate lawyer in Sacramento will definitely help you navigate through it in a more cost-effective and efficient manner. He or she may be able to offer suggestions on how to deal with some of the problems listed above, as well. Keep in mind that someone with a fair amount of experience in this area will have “seen it all,” and will have some tools and ideas for you to draw upon while going through probate.

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