Is Probate Required?

After someone passes away, their will needs to be executed, which includes paying expenses and debts and distributing assets. The legal process overseeing this is called probate.

Unless a will is set up expressly to avoid probate, such as all assets being jointly owned or funded into a living trust, probate is required.

The two types of probate are regular and summary. The court oversees regular probate, which involves cases where the assets total more than $150,000. These cases can take anywhere between 1–3 years. The Probate Administrator typically oversees summary probate, which involves cases where the assets total less than $150,000. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, these cases are typically opened and closed in a shorter amount of time.

How to Open Probate:

  1. If an Executor is listed, they will file a petition to open probate in the county court where the deceased was living when they died. If no Executor is named, a close relative or interested party will be appointed by the court as the estate administrator. The court will set a hearing date.
  2. The Executor must notify all beneficiaries and legal heirs of the hearing date. They must also publish the hearing in a local newspaper before the hearing.
  3. The Executor must monitor the course information online and resolve any probate notes posted to the case by the probate examiner. The hearing cannot be held until all notes are cleared, such as clarifying confusion, correcting mistakes, or supplying more information.
  4. Once the petition is granted, the Executor may carry out the will. This process includes paying funeral expenses, clearing debts, transferring titles, selling assets, and distributing assets to beneficiaries once the court approves.
  5. When all these steps are complete, the Executor will provide a summary of all accounts and file a petition to close probate.

Probate Assistance

The only requirements to be the Executor of a will are honesty, fairness, and acting in the deceased’s best interest. No special legal knowledge is required.

However, it is commonly known that the probate process can be costly, confusing, and drawn out if the correct steps are not followed. Therefore, it is always best to hire legal assistance.

The Legacy Lawyers are the right choice for you.

The Legacy Lawyers are here to offer legal advice and assist in every step of the process. We can help in:

  • Filing the initial petition
  • Corresponding with probate court staff and examiner
  • Posting and sending notifications
  • Staying up to date with legal requirements
  • Preparing and filing all paperwork

Our goal is to ensure a smooth and peaceful process for you in this difficult time.

We have proven strategies to minimize your stress and time in probate while maximizing your benefits.

Call us today to schedule a consultation for opening probate with a will in California.

There are no upfront attorney fees. After the initial filing fee, which will be reimbursed to you, we receive payment from the estate at the close of probate.