Probate is a legal term that many California residents have heard and probably associate with something negative. It is often said that probate should be avoided whenever possible, but not everyone takes the proactive steps of preparing an estate plan to accomplish that goal. Many estates end up in probate after an individual passes away without providing for transfers of property to avoid the process.
This post will provide a general overview of what happens during probate. It is not comprehensive and should not be read by any reader as specific legal advice. To learn more about probate, its possible benefits and potential downfalls, and to ask any other estate planning questions, a reader can reach out to their trusted estate planning and administration attorney for counsel and advice.
The purpose of probate
Probate is a legal process that begins when a person dies. In probate, the decedent’s assets and liabilities are identified and collected. From their end of life estate, any debts or liabilities that were outstanding are paid off, and beneficiaries are provided with the decedents assets.
Probate may sound simple enough, but many questions and complications can arise during the process. It can cost beneficiaries money to go through probate, and it can take a very long time to resolve all of the financial and legal issues that come up during the process. It is for these reasons that some Californians attempted to avoid probate by using testamentary tools to reduce the sizes of their estates and to keep them out of probate.
Getting through probate without a lawyer
As mentioned, questions and complications can arise during probate. A beneficiary may challenge the terms of the decedent’s will, or differences in opinion about the value of assets may come up. Having a dedicated estate administration and probate attorney working on a probate case can help ensure that matters are identified early and resolved with ease. Although there are no guarantees under the law, families who have lost loved ones and who are caught in the probate process can benefit from having legal counselors advise them of their rights and options during probate.