Frequently Asked Questions About Probate

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Probate

Peter Rasla & Associates, P.L.C.

Probate can be a complex, stressful, and drawn-out process to go through. When the estate is large and has multiple properties and bank accounts, probate can become especially complicated. Our team at Peter Rasla & Associates, P.L.C. has the ability to help clients successfully navigate through the probate process while keeping them informed and educated on their process and relevant laws.

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What is probate?
After an individual dies, their assets are transferred to any beneficiaries or heirs, a process called probate. This is a legal process that is performed in the deceased person's county court. The validity of the deceased person's will must be proved, or the court will distribute their property according to California's intestate laws if a will was not left behind. In both scenarios, an executor will oversee the process.

What is an executor and what are their duties?
An executor is an individual who the court appoints to either follow the terms set forth by the deceased person's will or to make decisions for the decedent when there is no will. The executor will have to identify all of the decedent's assets and determine which of the assets must go through probate. They will then have to value the assets of the estate, including any unpaid debt.

The executor must also set up a checking account, pay all debts, bills, taxes, and valid claims against the estate. This will require research to ensure that the claims are legal. Once all debts have been paid, the executor must administer the remaining assets to the proper people. If the executor does not properly carry out their duties, they will be held liable for any resulting damages.

How long does probate take?
The probate process does not have a fixed time limit. Typically, the process takes anywhere from a few months to one year. Different factors can make the process take longer, such as the size of the estate, how long it takes to find a will, and how long it takes to appoint an executor and notify the beneficiaries of the decedent. If the will is contested, the probate process will continue until all matters are resolved, which could end up taking years.

Can probate be avoided?
While the creation of a will still requires probate because its validity must be established, creating a living trust is one way to avoid probate. Living trusts can protect property and assets from probate, and when you appoint a beneficiary in a living trust, the beneficiary obtains ownership of the property. Once you pass away, your property can easily be passed on the designated beneficiary. Trusts are also effective ways to protect your assets from creditors and reduce taxes and probate costs.

If you own property with someone else and you pass away, the property will automatically go to the other owner without having to go through probate. There are a few different types of joint ownership, so you can determine the type that is ideal for your situation.

Get Answers on Your Probate Matter Today

While probate may be a complex area of law to navigate through, our attorneys at Peter Rasla & Associates, P.L.C. possess the skills, resources, and tools needed to help you successfully navigate through your legal process.

Whether you are going through probate, want to learn how to avoid probate, or are involved in a probate dispute, contact our firm today to see how an Irvine probate attorney may be able to assist you!

The team is proud to offer potential clients free caseevaluations, so do not wait to schedule yours today!

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