If you have had a loved one pass away, you know just how much needs to be done. Amidst your grief, you must navigate the legal process associated with your loved one’s estate. For most people, this means going through probate court. Though the process can be complicated, filing probate is an essential step when a family member dies.
Because the probate process is complicated, many people do not know where to begin. No matter how much experience you have with probate, it is important to know that there are resources and professionals here to help you. Our team at Sweeney Probate Law can walk through probate with you to ensure that you navigate the process correctly and get through this period as gracefully as possible.
Though most families will go through probate at some time or another, many people do not know what probate is. Probate is a process by which the courts assess a deceased person’s assets and ensure that all of their taxes and necessary debts are paid.
During this process, the court also looks at the deceased’s will to ensure that the document is valid and legitimate. If it is, they will release the deceased’s assets to the executor of the will. If it is not, they will adjust before proceeding.
There are few situations in which a person’s estate does not need to move through probate court. This means that most people will experience probate during their lifetime.
It is always best to have a plethora of resources when navigating the probate process. Your best resource will be a probate attorney. This individual will help you with the entire probate process, from filing for probate to the distribution of assets. Without legal expertise, it is easy to make mistakes during probate court, which can lead to lengthy delays.
It’s also important to note that there may be some increased emotion and hostility in your family during this difficult time. It can be extremely helpful to have an expert third party to act as a legal authority. Without an expert, families often argue about what should happen and who should handle which aspects of the property.
While estate planning attorneys help your loved one create their will and trusts, a probate attorney helps you to navigate the aftermath of that loved one’s death. You need someone on your side who knows what they are doing and how to guide you through the process.
After you have your San Clemente probate attorney, you and your lawyer will need to file probate with the Probate Clerk. This individual handles the intake of all cases involving the probate process. Their office is at the Central Justice Center courthouse: Room D110, in San Clemente, California.
Once your case has been processed, you will have to appear in probate court. Your probate attorney will ensure that you fill out the initial file correctly and will help you to meet all deadlines throughout the probate process. If there are delays, which are common, your attorney will be instrumental in moving the process along and working out any issues that may arise.
In some situations, the deceased did not leave a will, a will could not be found, or the will was inauthentic or void. Probate must still occur in these scenarios so that the government can settle taxes and debts. However, if there is no will, the court will hand all of the deceased’s assets over to their next of kin. In most situations, this means a spouse, sibling, or child.
Many different issues can arise when no will is authenticated. The first major issue is the fact that the deceased’s intended beneficiaries cannot claim what should be theirs if no will was created. For example, if an old family cabin belonged to the eldest of the family, it would make sense for the next living sibling to inherit the cabin upon the eldest’s death. However, if the eldest did not leave a will, the cabin would go to their spouse before it went to their sibling. This means that the family cabin could be written out of the original family entirely if the spouse chooses to leave the cabin to their own biological family.
A probate attorney can help you to navigate the probate process whether there is a will or not. When you have an attorney on your side, you can be sure that you’ve considered all solutions to any problem that arises.
The executor of a will is the person who distributes the assets to the family members outlined in the will. Most wills name an executor. However, if the deceased did not name an executor or the executor is not legally fit to do their job, then the court will choose an executor during the probate process.
Executors are in a difficult position. Though they may be grieving and can be swayed by family members, their job is to carry out the wishes in a will as they are outlined. If something is ambiguous, it is the executor’s job to interpret the deceased’s wishes and react accordingly. Family members can easily disagree with the executor, causing arguments and conflict.
Having a probate attorney on your side can help to create an heir of authority for the executor. If there is a legal professional who can support the executor’s choices and actions, it is more difficult for others to argue or cause conflict. This helps the process to go more smoothly and may help eliminate some stress for the executor.
If you are filing probate in San Clemente, California, you need a probate attorney on your side to help. Our team has been in the probate sector of the legal system for over 40 years. We feel confident that we can help you with your probate situation, no matter what it may be.
For more information, please contact Sweeney Probate Law online today.