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Estate Planning Blog

Working with a Probate Attorney in Sacramento to Understand the Steps of the Process

February 4, 2014

Even if someone has a will in place, it’s still quite likely that his or her estate will need to be overseen by a good probate attorney in Sacramento, CA. These professionals understand the incredibly complex process that goes along with closing out someone’s estate after he or she has passed away. Those who have worked with an estate planning lawyer can sometimes avoid probate through the use of tools like revocable living trusts, but if you are in a situation where the estate in question needs to go through the legal process, it makes sense to get a qualified probate attorney on board.

One of the things the lawyer will do is to help you better understand the steps of the probate process in California. Knowledge is power, and having a reasonable expectation of what to expect can make probate a little less intimidating.

While every situation is different, a typical probate process in California will look something like this:

  1. The validation of the will. The will needs to be proven valid and filed at the country probate court.
  2. The court will appoint an executor. The will usually nominates someone for the position, but the executor will not have legal authority to take actions until approved by the court.
  3. An inventory is made of all the assets, as well as a determination if the estate is owed money by any other parties. At this time, a special checking account may be created to take care of the estate’s obligations.
  4. The outstanding debts of the decedent and the ongoing expenses of the estate will be identified and paid. These debts should be uncovered in the previous steps.
  5. The remaining property will be distributed to heirs based upon the wishes outlined in the will and according to the laws of California, after approval by the court.

This is obviously a simplified look at what happens during the process, but even from this brief list, it is possible to see why it is so beneficial to have an experienced probate lawyer in Sacramento involved. He or she not only oversees the legal aspects of probate—filing paperwork and keeping things moving forward—but also guides the executor on what duties need to be fulfilled. Ideally, the probate process will take only a few months, but to the time it takes to obtain court hearings and the built in waiting periods to ensure creditors are paid, this timeframe is typically stretched out to take a year. If any issues arise or there is disagreement among the heirs the timeframe is even longer. A probate lawyer will help to avoid as many pitfalls as possible so that the estate can be closed efficiently and in a timely manner.

Call The Chubb Law Firm today at (916) 241-9661 to review your goals and discuss your options.

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I was absolutely without a clue as to how to begin or what I should do to establish an estate plan. I did know that I wanted someone I could trust, that was honest and I would have confidence in. I was referred to Heather by my friend who was being legally advised by Heather on another estate. She was very satisfied with her work and thought I might be happy with her service. At our consultation appointment, her presentation was very thorough. I had lots of questions, and she was easy to talk to and was able to guide me to just the kind of estate plan I needed. That was 10 years ago. Due to circumstances in my life, I have had to make changes to my plan, and I always go back to her for her legal services and guidance. I have recommended Heather before.
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