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Is Probate Always Necessary In California?

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2020 | Probate

If you’ve just lost a family member, you are likely trying to work through your own grief and be there for those that you love. During a difficult time like this, it can feel especially burdensome to tend to the legal matters related to the decedent’s estate. Unfortunately, however, probate and other asset-transfer matters must be addressed in a timely fashion.

The good news is that an experienced estate law attorney can make the entire process faster, easier and less stressful. Below, we have provided some basic information for estate executors in California.

Probate Can Be Avoided

Probate is a court-guided procedure that facilitates the transfer of a decedent’s assets. The amount of court intervention needed is often inversely proportional to how much estate planning was done. In simpler terms, thorough estate planning can greatly reduce or eliminate the need for probate.

Most property can be transferred through other existing legal means and mechanisms, such as trusts, laws of joint tenancy/survivorship, and payable-on-death accounts with named beneficiaries. These mechanisms essentially take the designated assets out of the estate so that they aren’t part of the probate process.

Probate can also usually be avoided or greatly simplified if the value of an estate is sufficiently small (around $166,000 or less). In such cases, court involvement will be minimal, and the process can usually be finished quickly.

When Probate Is Necessary, Work With A Good Attorney

The process of probating and otherwise settling an estate can take six months to a year. And there is a wide range of tasks that need to be completed. If you’ve been named as the executor of the decedent’s estate, you don’t need to handle everything on your own. Instead, contact an experienced estate law attorney who can guide you through the entire process and take care of the more complex or time-consuming matters for you.