Davis Probate Law Attorney

What Is Probate?

Following the death of a loved one, probate is the court process for transferring your loved one's assets to those designated in the will or by law. Probate involves filing your loved one's will (if one exists) and documentation of his or her assets. The court will then transfer the property according to the terms of the will or according to California law.

When Is Probate Required?

Probate is not mandatory in all circumstances. For example, if your loved one created certain trusts before his or her death, or designated beneficiaries on certain financial accounts, probate may not be necessary.

The value of your loved one's estate also impacts whether probate is required. In general, estates valued at more than $150,000 (excluding assets that can be transferred through beneficiary designations) must undergo probate. Because the rules regarding probate are complex, you should consult with an attorney about the specifics of your situation.

Probate can be a costly and time-consuming process. For many individuals, it is possible to avoid probate through careful estate planning.

What Does The Executor Do?

In simplest terms, the executor is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the person who has passed away. As a practical matter, the executor acts as the representative of the deceased person's estate in all legal matters with regard to wrapping up that person's affairs.

As executor, you must file the will and other documents with the probate court. You must also provide notice to the appropriate individuals and create a detailed inventory of the deceased's assets. After any creditors are paid off, you are responsible for distributing the remaining assets in accordance with the terms of the will or court order.

Depending on the circumstances, you may have to carry out other duties, including:

  • Filing tax returns on behalf of the deceased's estate
  • Obtaining valuations or appraisals
  • Notifying third parties of the death

Executors are fiduciaries, which means they are responsible for managing the property of another. Accordingly, they are held to high legal standards of care in performing these duties. Failures or lapses can potentially subject you to personal liability. It is important to consult with an attorney about the scope and nature of your duties. At the Law Office of Laura Stodden Parker, we can walk you through the process and guide you each step of the way.

How Long Does Probate Take?

Generally speaking, probate can take about 1 to 1 1/2 years. At our firm, we emphasize efficiency and we value cost-effective strategies. As a result, we are often able to reduce any delays and complete the probate process in a shorter time frame.

Learn More About Probate: Contact Us

Probate is a complex process. Our law firm is devoted exclusively to probate, estate administration, estate planning and related areas of law. We remain on top of legal developments in these fields to provide thorough, up-to-date legal counsel.

To learn more, contact us online or call 530-792-1559. Located in downtown Davis, our probate law lawyer serves clients throughout Yolo County and statewide.