Do you have a loved one who passed away without a will?

If so, it may be hard to know what steps need to be taken to ensure that their estate is distributed correctly according to their wishes. Outlined below are the necessary steps of the probate process in Irvine, California.

Opening Probate

Once confirmed that there is no will on file in the county where the decedent lived, the closest living relative or interested party who will inherit some portion of the estate may file a petition to open probate. This is to be done in the decedent’s county. The court will then appoint an estate administrator who will carry the same duties that an estate executor would hold in a designated will. This person is given the right to act on behalf of the deceased.

It is not required that the estate administrator have any legal knowledge or expertise in the estate planning process. However, they are required to act fairly and honorably to carry out the decedent’s wishes and intentions.

These duties include:

  • Filing a petition to open probate
  • Notifying all interested parties
  • Enumerating the estate
  • Paying all debts
  • Distributing all assets and inheritance

The state typically appoints the closest living relative to be the estate administrator. If they are unable or unwilling, the next closest relative will be selected, and so forth. If no living relatives can be found willing, the probate court or an attorney will carry out the administration.

Distribution of the Estate

In the case where no will can be found, the estate will be distributed according to intestate succession laws. “Intestate” means the decedent died without a will in place.

These laws vary by state and county. In most cases, a living spouse will inherit all community property. If the decedent had children, the estate would be divided evenly among them along with the spouse. Inheritance is distributed after all debts and credits are paid.

The estate administrator must enumerate all estate property, including lands, businesses, household items, accounts, debts, and more. The administrator will file this information with the probate court and then pay all debts owed. Once all of this information has been filed, the inheritance will be distributed. Then the administrator will file to close the probate.

Legal Assistance

It is always advisable to consult legal assistance when opening a probate. It is commonly known that the probate process is complicated and time-intensive. There is much paperwork involved, and all filings need to be completed correctly.

Probate law in California is not always straightforward. Therefore, it is a probate attorney’s job to stay up to date on changing laws and procedures.

The Legacy Lawyers

At The Legacy Lawyers, it is our desire to help you through the probate process in a quick and efficient manner. We have proven techniques to cut your time in probate in half and maximize your benefits.

The Legacy Lawyers can help you through every step of the probate process: from the petition’s initial filing to the close of probate. Our lawyers assist with posting all notices, clearing all probate notes on paperwork, and enumerating and paying debts. It is our job to ensure that every legal step is met carefully and quickly.

Our goal is to ensure your peace of mind in this difficult time.

There is no upfront cost to you when working with The Legacy Lawyers other than the initial filing fee. Our fees will be paid at the close of probate out of the decedent’s estate.

If you need assistance opening a probate in Irvine without a will, schedule a consultation with The Legacy Lawyers today.