Spousal Property Petition
Small Estate Petition
Probate Code Section 3101 Petition
Probate is a legal proceeding which is used to wind up a person's legal and financial
affairs after death. Probate can be commenced either with or without a Will. If
the decedent did not have a Will, then the court will appoint an administrator to
perform many of the functions such as gathering assets and identifying the creditors
of the decedent's estate. If the decedent has a Will, then the Will generally names
an executor of the estate. The executor generally assists the attorney in identifying
the decedent's assets and creditors and family members who will receive notice of
the probate proceeding.
Probate is the legal process of transferring of property upon a person's death.
Probate is a court-supervised process that is designed to sort out the transfer
of a person's property at death. When a person dies, the legal title of property
or accounts from their estate has to be transferred either with or without a will.
Probate is the process which allows the proper transfer of the decedent's estate
to the rightful beneficiaries or heirs. The probate process takes at least six months
and take up to several years.
It is estimated that the total cost of probate can amount to around 3% to 8% of
the deceased's GROSS estate, although this does depend on the complexity
of the process. If the will is contested, the cost of probate can substantially
increase, and you will find that the process will be far more costly both in terms
of time and money.
The following is the general steps which are associated with a probate:
1. Petition for Probate
2. Appointment of Executor or Administrator
3. Inventory & Appraisal of all assets
4. Creditor Claims
5. Paying all debts, claims and taxes owed by the estate;
6. Collecting all rights of the estate
7. Settling any disputes; and
8. Distributing or transferring the remaining property to the heirs.
How can I avoid probate?
1. Establish and Fund a Revocable Living Trust
2. Joint Tenancy or Community Property with Rights of Survivorship;
3. Beneficiary Designations, for example, Life Insurance Policies and Retirement
Plans with beneficiaries designated
4. Summary Administration: If the estate is small enough and there are no disputes
among the beneficiaries, the estate may be able to be distributed outside the probate
court proceeding. Living trusts and real property held in joint tenancy are distributed
outside the probate proceeding (See Below).