San Diego

Probate Attorney

Probate is a complicated process, and most people aren’t really sure what it is — other than something to be avoided.

So what is probate, how does it work, and what are the steps you can take with your attorney to keep your family out of probate court?

CALL 619-930-9420 FOR A FREE CONSULTATIONCALL 619-930-9420 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

Probate is a complicated process, and most people aren’t really sure what it is — other than something to be avoided.

So what is probate, how does it work, and what are the steps you can take with your attorney to keep your family out of probate court?

What is probate?

The probate process is when the court oversees the transfer and administration of someone’s affairs and assets after they pass away.

Each state has different regulations regarding the process, but most begin with finding someone named in the will to act as the person representative — the person tasked with administering the estate.

California estates that are valued at more than $150,000 typically have to go through probate. The probate process in San Diego can take anywhere from eight months to two year, depending on the size of the estate and any complications that may arise during the process.

It is important to note, though, that the probate estate includes property that is in your loved one’s name alone, which means that it does not include trust property, insurance proceeds (like life insurance), or property they held with someone else, and those types of documents are not subject to probate.

How does the probate process work?

Each state has different regulations regarding the process, but most begin with finding someone to act as the person representative — the person tasked with administering the estate.

If there is a will involved in the estate, that person will be called an executor. If there is no will, the person will just be referred to as the administrator.

If you are the executor or administrator, some steps you will be required to help with include:

  • Obtaining copies of the death certificate
  • Obtaining copies of the will or trust (and reviewing them with your attorney)
  • Organizing financial information and documents of your loved one
  • Collecting estate property and assets
  • Providing the court with all the above information

First, the probate court will use those assets to pay any outstanding debt or credit your loved one had. Then, what’s left over will be distributed to their beneficiaries.

The probate court will also make sure that any will was not signed under duress (forced to sign it on their deathbed, etc.), and if no will is involved, the person who passed away will be labeled intestate.

Why should I hire a San Diego probate attorney?

While you’re still alive, a probate attorney can help you create an estate plan that will help you avoid the long, drawn-out process in San Diego probate court and allow your family to conduct the estate administration amongst yourselves.

However, if your loved one failed to create an estate plan, or chose to only create a will, a probate attorney can help you through this process and ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

A probate attorney can help with any or all of the following:

  • Getting the decedent’s property appraised
  • Finding and securing all of the decedent’s assets
  • Advising on how to pay the decedent’s bills, settling debt, and resolving tax issues
  • Preparing/filing documents
  • Managing the estate’s checkbook and checking account
  • Transferring assets to the appropriate beneficiaries

This attorney can also act as a mediator, helping with the more confusing portions of the process and keeping the family from fighting and moving towards a faster resolution.

Additionally, in rare situations where someone challenges the validity of the decedent’s will, the case may lead to litigation, in which case an attorney who knows your family and your situation will be absolutely necessary.

Contact The Reardon Law Firm today

The Reardon Law Firm, located in the heart of San Diego, has seen how messy probate proceedings can be. Let us help you and your family through this process, or work to create an estate plan for your family on the front end.

Give us a call today.

CALL 619-930-9420 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

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