When you lose a loved one who did not create a comprehensive estate plan, you must probate the will to legally validate it before any of the terms set forth in the will can be carried out. Probating a will tends to be a complex, lengthy, and confusing process, so many people choose to develop estate plans to avoid leaving their family members with this burden. In their will, the decedent should have designated an administrator, or executor, to handle the estate after they died, which includes paying off debts, distributing assets to beneficiaries, and managing all other financial obligations associated with the estate. Few people expect to be given such an important responsibility, and most have a number of questions on their role in the probate process and the duties they are expected to perform.
If you were named as an administrator for a family member’s estate, the best way to ensure you can properly navigate this process and achieve the best outcome for all parties is to speak with an experienced probate attorney. I am William Sweeney, and as the founder and sole practitioner of Sweeney Probate Law, I have the legal knowledge, skills, and resources to guide you through the effective management of an estate. I can explain how the law applies to your unique situation, offer counsel on how to perform your duties, and guide you to the best outcome for your family. Learn more about the probate process by consulting the following information, then contact Sweeney Probate Law for top-tier legal representation.
Probate refers to the court-supervised process of confirming the legal validity of a will so the decedent’s estate can be managed according to their last wishes and the legal requirements of the county court. The purpose of probating a will is to administer the assets and property within the estate in a manner that prioritizes the best interests of the estate and the designated beneficiaries. When the decedent leaves behind a will, the executor named in the estate is responsible for submitting the will to probate and overseeing the management of the estate according to the terms outlined in the will. When a will cannot be located, a family member must request to be appointed as an administrator, who will allocate the estate using intestate succession laws in which assets are transferred to the next of kin, typically a surviving spouse or children.
Probate serves the following functions:
Generally, the assets listed below are subject to the probate process:
In some cases, it is possible to avoid probate. The following assets are typically not subject to probate and can be immediately distributed to beneficiaries after the decedent’s death:
Probate is also unnecessary if the total value of the probate estate equals less than a certain amount. The probate estate is defined as the assets and properties that cannot be transferred to beneficiaries through any of the methods described above. In California, if a probate estate is valued at less than $184,500 at the time of death, it is not subject to probate.
The probate process can be challenging, but Sweeney Probate Law can help you understand your obligations and give you the information you need to fulfill them. For over 40 years, I have dedicated my career to assisting clients in Southern California and offering the highest quality of legal representation to ensure they can effectively manage the administration of an estate. When you retain my legal services, I can answer any of your questions, resolve your concerns, and help you reach a resolution for your family. I will work with you throughout the entire probate process to prepare all of the required documents for probating an estate and file them with the probate court, as well as representing you at mandatory court hearings.
Contact Sweeney Probate Law today to schedule a consultation. If you are located outside of Southern California, you can still benefit from my legal expertise as we can communicate via phone call or video chat to review your options and develop a strategy for handling the estate. With my help, you can approach this challenging situation with confidence and peace of mind knowing your loved one’s wishes will be respected.