Most individuals have never sat down to draft their estate planning documents. Even fewer have been asked to serve as an executor of someone's estate. If you've never done either one of these, then you may know very little about the probate process. You should learn what happens to a decedent's estate during this process though.
A trust can be a great way to protect assets for loved ones who are set to inherit them. Yet, the effectiveness of a trust is often left in the hands of a trust administrator. This person may be named by the individual who created the trust, or he or she may be appointed by the probate court. Either way, the trust administrator, also called a trustee, carries a heavy responsibility that often comes under close scrutiny.
Much of estate planning focuses on how an estate can avoid the probate process. There are many reasons why an individual may want to do this. To start, probate can stall the asset distribution process. It requires the identifying of assets, the settling of debts, and determining how assets should be disbursed amongst heirs and beneficiaries. This process can be costly, too. This can cause heirs and beneficiaries to lose a significant amount of their inheritance's value as court and administration fees are withdrawn.
Many Californians have heard of the probate process, but not everyone fully understands what it entails.