When closing an estate, contacting heirs, dividing assets, and settling debts owed by the grantor are expected parts of the process. For some estates, going through the probate process may be necessary to finalize asset divisions or accounts related to the estate. Depending on the estate, and the assets in the estate plan, this process may be expedited or unnecessary. However, with most estates going through probate, understanding the process is crucial.
Probate is the procedure by which a decedent’s estate is legally transferred to any named beneficiaries in the will. The executor of a will typically has to:
The probate process mostly revolves around executing the provisions of a will while dividing and settling an estate. At this time, any debts owed by the decedent are resolved, and the estate is then closed. Depending on the estate, the reasons for requiring probate can vary. Some of the most common include the following:
Although probate is necessary in some cases, depending on the assets included in the estate plan, it can be avoided. For example, if a living trust is established before the decedent’s passing, they can designate a trustee to divide the assets in the trust among any named beneficiaries. Similarly, establishing joint ownership of certain assets will create an automatic line of succession between the decedent and the person who jointly owns that asset. That person will then inherit it after the other owner passes away. Understanding why the estate is going to probate when it is required will help make the process more streamlined.
A: The biggest factor in determining whether an estate will go through probate is the value of the estate. According to California law, no probate is required if the entire value of the assets at the time of the decedent’s passing is less than $166,250.00. In these situations, these assets are handed over through a streamlined process.
A: The biggest part of an estate plan is the will. If the will is proven to be invalid, this can be used to contest probate and stop any negotiations regarding that invalid will. Once the Petition for Probate is filed, contesting its filing, and filing a separate will contest claim to have a new will validated, can stop the initial process.
A: When contesting a will, the person raising suspicion about its validity needs to prove at least one of the following:
A: There are three types of settlement conferences for probate:
In addition, parties are free to look into private alternate dispute resolution solutions outside of court. At any moment, the parties may freely agree to private mediation. This can be binding or not. This process can also include the use of discovery referees or an early neutral assessment.
Seeking legal help can be necessary for properly navigating disputes when going through the probate process. This can be especially vital when dealing with a contested will or unsettled issues between beneficiaries. For those in California, Sweeney Probate Law can help provide counsel for tense probate discussions. For more information on our services, visit our website and contact us today.