Estate law, particularly probate, can be time consuming and complex. A probate attorney who specializes in probate related matters can provide sage counsel and advice through the complicated process of managing a loved one’s estate.
In California, probates are not always required, depending upon the nature of the deceased’s own estate plan. However, if an individual finds himself as the executor of a will and it is determined that probate is necessary, the executor may want to consider the services of a skilled probate attorney as he starts the probate process. The executor should also plan to spend generally six months to a year working through the system.
In California, the probate process generally moves as follows:
• The executor files the will and the petition for probate
• Formal notice is given to interested or affected parties
• The will is validated
• The executor is granted authority to manage the estate’s assets
• The executor can then begin to gather the deceased’s assets
• The executor may need to open a bank account and tax ID number for the estate
• The executor then prepares an inventory of the probate property
• Assets must be appraised and the inventory and value must be filed with the court
• The executor must pay or reject bills from creditors, pay taxes and death expenses
• The executor may need to sell assets or property to fund the estate
• Tax returns must be completed for both the deceased and the estate
In addition to the paperwork and valuation tasks, it is the executor’s role to keep the estate property safe and well maintained until its final disposition has been determined. For example, if a home is part of the estate, the executor must ensure that the home is insured and that routine maintenance is completed to keep it in good repair. If there are heirlooms or other items of value, they must also be safeguarded from theft or damage.
While this may sound overwhelming, the executor does not have to act alone. In the greater Orange County, California area, call Vilma M. Aarons Attorney at Law for a free consultation to see how an experienced probate attorney can simplify the process!