The Probate Process in California
Responsibilities of Executor or Administrator
Out-of-State Issues During Probate
Negligence And/Or Defective Products Causing Death
As a probate attorney, I can be of assistance if someone has died as a result of the wrongdoing of another or a defective product. Often, this requires the opening of a probate for a personal representative to be appointed.
Where there are numerous persons with statutory entitlement to a potential recovery for wrongful death, consider the alternative of setting up an estate and filing an action in the name of a court appointed personal representative. For example, bringing the action in the name of the personal representative eliminates the need to consolidate various actions which, in the absence of such a filing, might be separately brought by separately represented relatives. When wrongful death proceeds are ultimately obtained, they may be distributed to persons not necessarily sharing in the estate according to the laws of succession. The appropriate distribution of any verdict or settlement among various heirs can be determined either by settlement or by the Court’s allocation.
DEATH SURVIVAL ACTIONS
A survival cause of action can be brought if the decedent did not immediately die from his or her injuries. If the deceased lived for even a short time after the accident that caused the death or the use of the defective product that caused the death then a survival cause of action may be appropriate for punitive damages, medical bills, lost earnings, property damage, or other losses incurred by the decedent before death. A survival cause of action that survives the death of a person passes to the decedent’s successor in interest and is enforceable by the decedent’s probate court appointed personal representative.
It is common for the personal representative to represent those entitled to recover for wrongful death and survival claims. If the lawsuit has been or needs to be filed in another state you may still need to open a probate estate in California to be appointed as personal representative in order to maintain the action or actions in the other state and/or conduct settlement, etc.
While no amount of money will bring back a loved one, strong and competent legal representation may help to offer closure and to ease the financial stress involved after such a loss. To speak with me during a free initial consultation, call me, William K. Sweeney, toll free at 800-575-9610 or locally at 760-989-4820. You can also send me an email by completing an online contact form. As a wrongful death and survival action probate attorney, I represent clients throughout the state of California and others who reside outside the state who require counsel for interests in California.
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