This writing is the third in a series regarding probate decedent’s estate court proceedings in California.
The first writing defined the ultimate goal of a probate decedent’s estate court proceeding as the transfer of assets from someone who died (a decedent) to the people who are supposed to receive them. The second writing discussed the first major step toward achieving this goal. At its conclusion, the court had appointed someone to be in charge of the assets of a decedent (or the estate), as requested.
That person is not officially in charge of the decedent’s estate until he or she receives two documents from the court. These documents are the proof of authority that the person is in charge. This writing outlines the process by which these documents are obtained, and it concludes the first of three major steps of a probate decedent’s estate court proceeding.
Unless there is a will that waives the bond requirement, the court ordinarily will not generate the two documents until someone files a bond with the court. The bond is required by the court and will replace the value of assets if the person in charge absconds with them.
The value of real estate may not need to be included in the bond amount.
There is an annual premium payment for the bond. The person in charge can pay the annual premium from the assets of the decedent.
Most bond companies will require that the person in charge has an attorney.
After the bond is filed with the court and the court generates the two documents, the person in charge uses those two documents to change ownership of all of the decedent’s assets to his name as the person in charge of the probate decedent’s estate court proceeding.
Then he will file an inventory with the court. This inventory lists all of the assets of the decedent that will be subject to this court proceeding. It also indicates the values of these assets on the date of death.
If there are assets other than cash and personal effects such as clothing and furniture, then a person called a probate referee will need to provide the value of those assets on the inventory. The court would appoint the probate referee. The probate referee charges a fee for this service, and the person in charge of the estate can pay that fee from the assets of the estate.