Probate is the legal process of administering a person’s estate after their death. In California, probates occur when the decedent died without a will, with only a will, or with assets left outside of a trust.
If you need to administer an estate in the California Probate Court, our experienced probate attorneys can coach you through the entire process.
California Probates are notoriously long and complicated. But our experienced legal team can help administer your loved one’s estate as quickly and painlessly as possible.
WHAT IS A CALIFORNIA PROBATE?
When a loved one dies without a will in place, with ONLY a will in place (no revocable living trust), or with valuable assets left outside of a living trust, the estate will likely need to be administered by the California Probate Court. California probate is the legal process in which a deceased person’s estate is settled and distributed to their heirs.
Losing a loved one can be traumatic and extremely stressful. After a loved one dies, surviving family members often face difficult financial decisions. Setting up an estate plan early can save your surviving loved ones significant mental, emotional, and financial difficulty upon your passing. Nonetheless, probate issues can arise even with a comprehensive estate plan in place if assets are not properly transferred into a trust.
The California probate process can be time-consuming and expensive. At The Law Offices of Daniel Hunt, our probate attorneys have successfully advocated on behalf of many clients in a variety of probate issues. With decades of experience in Probate Law, founding attorney Daniel A. Hunt is a California State Bar Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law. To learn how we can help you with your probate issue, contact our Sacramento probate law firm today.
WHY DO PEOPLE NEED PROBATE ATTORNEYS IN CALIFORNIA?
The probate process can be overwhelming and confusing. Finding an experienced probate attorney to guide you through this process is essential. Knowledgeable legal counsel becomes even more critical when a party contests the will or other probate challenges arise. Common legal issues in California Probate Law include:
- Ambiguities in the will
- Estates with more debts than assets
- Estates with unresolved claims
- Contested claims or creditors seeking the assets of the estate
- The discovery of multiple wills
COMPREHENSIVE REPRESENTATION THROUGHOUT THE CALIFORNIA PROBATE PROCESS
In California, many probate proceedings take between 9 and 18 months. At The Law Offices of Daniel Hunt, we represent our clients throughout the entire probate process according to California Probate Law and the wishes of the decedent. We help clients navigate all of the following probate administration tasks.
FILING AND VALIDATING THE WILL
The first step in the California probate process is to file the deceased person’s will with the appropriate California Probate Court. Our attorneys can help file the will and petition the Probate Court to appoint the personal representative designated in the will. If the deceased individual did not name a personal representative because the will did not specify a person, that person is predeceased, or the decedent had no will, then an individual may seek to be appointed by the Probate Court. We can assist the proposed personal representative in the mandatory noticing to the creditors and the beneficiaries of the estate.
MANAGING OBLIGATIONS AND DISTRIBUTING PROPERTY
After being appointed, the personal representative is required to gather all of the essential records and accounts. This aspect of the probate process can take time, as some assets are challenging to find – especially when the deceased did not keep thorough records. Personal representatives have a legal duty to distribute the assets after petitioning the California probate court to close the estate administration.
COMMON CHALLENGES TO WILLS
After the proposed personal representative files the probate petition, interested parties may challenge the petition. Interested parties include heirs of the deceased, creditors of the estate, and beneficiaries named in the testator’s will. There are various reasons that an estate may be susceptible to a challenge. Here are a few of the reasons interested parties may challenge a will:
- The testator engaged in fraud when creating the will
- The will lacks the necessary witnesses
- Another person tricked the testator into signing the will
- Another person exerted undue influence over the testator during the creation of the will
- The testator lacked the required mental capacity to create his or her will
- The testator made mistakes in the will
- The testator improperly revoked a previous will
- Multiple wills surface
If you are searching for representation in challenging an action in a Probate Estate matter, contact our office. We also represent heirs and beneficiaries regarding their legal rights in these matters.
NAVIGATING COMPLEX PROBATE CASES IN CALIFORNIA
The Law Offices of Daniel Hunt can help administer the estate of the decedent and distribute assets to beneficiaries per the will. Additionally, we also offer our clients assistance in other issues that could arise in the probate process:
- Will contests
- Probate litigation
- Post-mortem tax planning
- Conservatorships for incapacitated or incompetent adults
- Guardianship proceedings for minors
- Trust administration
- Challenging trustees
- Real estate sales
- Beneficiary representation
- Executor representation
- Challenging estate administrators
- Bringing or challenging petitions for probate
OUR PROBATE ATTORNEYS CAN HELP
At The Law Offices of Daniel Hunt, we understand how challenging the complexity of the probate process can be after the death of a loved one. Hiring a skilled probate attorney can be extremely beneficial. Whether you need assistance administering a loved one’s estate or with a litigation issue, our experienced attorneys can help. To learn how our skilled probate lawyers can assist you, contact our law firm today to schedule your no-cost initial consultation at our Sacramento, Roseville, or Folsom offices.