Experienced San Diego County Probate Attorneys
Probate is the court process in which the probate court has jurisdiction over the administration of the estate of a deceased person, whether they left behind a valid will or not, to ensure that all debts and creditors are paid before the estate is distributed to the named beneficiaries. The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Daniel M. Little have helped countless families get through the probate process so they can focus on what’s most important in this difficult time.
How Does Probate Work in California?
The probate process begins when the executor named in the will comes forward to start the process of distributing the assets named in a will after a person has died. If no will was written before the death, someone else (typically a family member) must come forward to act as administrator for the estate. A petition must be filed with the probate court to signal the official start of the process. The petition is approved or denied by the judge who hears the case after the initial work is completed by a probate examiner. Notices that the process has begun will be sent to beneficiaries named in the will, any other proposed executors and all heirs of the deceased, and will name the time, date and location of the hearing.
How Long Does Probate Take?
A typical probate case can take anywhere from eight to 12 months, which includes the time in between hearings and a four-month period in which creditors can make claims. Complications within the probate can cause delays, making it difficult for beneficiaries to receive their inheritance. Working with a skilled California probate lawyer can help speed up the process so you and your family can move forward with your lives.
Is Probate Necessary?
Probate is necessary for all wills and for an estate that has been left behind without the designation of a valid will. There are exceptions to this rule, however, and whether or not an estate will have to go through probate depends on the specific case. For example, California estates that are valued under $150,000 can skip the process, as well as property that is named in a trust. But every case is different, and your best bet when facing the possibility of probate is to speak with a practiced California probate lawyer. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Daniel M. Little have handled hundreds of probate cases throughout San Diego County, and we can advise you on the best course of action to take for your unique situation.
Helping You Through Probate Litigation
Problems can arise for many different reasons and will delay the probate process. There are several reasons why an estate may become entangled in litigation. A decedent may have lacked capacity to understand the nature and effect of the estate planning documents at the time he or she signed them, the individual may have been a victim of fraud, duress or undue influence, or the trustee, executor or administrator may have failed to follow the terms of the estate plan, probate code or precedence set by case law. In any case, if you’re dealing with probate litigation we can help get you through it. Call our offices to set up an appointment with a skilled probate lawyer today.