The Probate Process

Orange County Probate Attorney

Probate may seem simple in the beginning, but when problems arise, it can quickly become a complicated procedure. The basic probate course will begin by proving a will to be valid. An executor, or person named in the will who is appointed to manage the estate of the deceased person, will then divide the deceased's assets. When a person does not have a will or the court determines that a valid will does not exist, the court must appoint an administrator. The administrator is then responsible for dividing the deceased's assets. In order for one to start the probate process, they must file a petition, accompanied with other paperwork, with the court.

The court will issue an initial hearing date, and once the date is declared, one must serve a notice of hearing for all who are named in the will, along with heirs who are legally related to the deceased. Notice of the probate must be published in a newspaper before the date of the hearing, as well. If the appropriate paperwork has been filled out, the court will grant the petition, sign the order to open probate, and issue a testamentary letter for an estate with a will, or an administration letter for an intestate estate (an estate that does not have a will). Once this process is completed, all of the estate assets must be collected, inventoried, and appraised. Remaining money may be appraised by the executor or administrator, but everything else must be appraised by a court appointed probate referee.

During the process of administering the estate, property must be sold or distributed, all estate bills must be paid off, and creditors of the deceased must be notified of the person's passing. When the creditors are paid and assets are sold or dispersed, the estate can be closed. When an estate is ready to be closed, a personal representative must file a petition, which includes an accounting for the estate's assets and a request to distribute assets to those previously decided upon. Estate accounting is problematic, because it must comply with Probate Code Section 1060 et seq. The executor and estate attorney must also be paid, and are entitled to the same fee based on the estate's value.

How An Orange County Probate Lawyer Can Help

It is possible for a person to navigate through the probate system on their own, however if it is done incorrectly, a probate case can take up to several years to resolve. The probate process is very meticulous; one must be aware of every rule, procedure, and legal term used during probate. At Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC we have over 25 years of cumulative experience in the practice of law. We understand California's probate laws and procedures, and can help clients resolve their probate cases with ease. During the property distribution process, our legal team can aggressively litigate on your behalf. Probate does not have to be dealt with alone.

Contact an experienced Orange County probate attorney today to learn how they can help you and your family.

Internet Marketing Experts The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.