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Common Questions about Probate in California

Riverside Estate Planning Attorney with the Answers You Can Trust!

Are you nearing the end of your life? You may have significant assets and net-worth that you wish to protect and distribute amongst friends, family members, and other beneficiaries. Without the right preparation, your assets could be distributed according to California intestate law, or they could be distributed through the probate process which can pose significant issues. It is crucial for you to have skillful representation on your side. Seek the assistance of a Riverside probate lawyer from Sandoval Legacy Group, a Division of Holstrom, Block & Parke APLC today, and refer to the following commonly asked questions to obtain some general information regarding this situation:

What is the probate process?
When a person dies, their estate goes through the probate. This is essentially the administration of an estate, and the carrying out of the decedent’s wishes as stated in their will. An estate that goes through probate is often subjected to taxation and other fees; this can become highly expensive for the administrator of your estate.

How long does probate take?

The length of the probate process all depends on the size of the estate and the amount of time it takes to find an existing will and appoint an executor. The bigger the estate and the more time it takes to get things in motion, the longer the probate process will take. Generally speaking, an estate will be in probate court from a few months to a year.

Can I avoid probate?
Almost entirely, yes. Any property or assets that are in your name at the time of your death will have to go through probate, and they will be distributed according to the wishes of your will. In order to have these assets or property given to your beneficiaries without the interference of probate, they need to be transferred out of your name. This is often accomplished through the use of a living trust.

Another way to avoid probate would be to name a joint owner to your property. Upon your death, the property would automatically go to them, thereby skipping probate. You may also gift your property or create a pay-on-death account, which would also immediately transfer your assets. If you have a smaller estate, ask a Riverside probate attorney if you can use a simplified procedure.

Do I need a lawyer for probate?
While it is possible to navigate through the estate planning process on your own, it can become highly confusing. Another major issue is that during the probate process, a will can be subject to validity challenging. If your will is not prepared properly, it could be contested and overturn in some cases. An attorney can help ensure that your will is solid and unquestionable for the probate process that it will face.

What happens if I die without a will?
If you die without a will, then your estate will be subject to distribution amongst beneficiaries according to California intestacy laws. If the decedent was married, and the spouse still lives, then the majority of the property may be distributed to the spouse, and some may go to the children of the decedent, depending on the type of property that is currently owned.

I’m an executor of an estate. What are my duties?

If the court has appointed you to be the executor of someone’s estate, then there are a number of responsibilities that you need to take care of. These will all be very closely monitored by the probate court, to make sure that you are administrating properly. Proceed with the following steps:

  1. Identify the decedent’s assets and find out which will go through probate
  2. Assess the value of the assets
  3. Find out if there are any unpaid debts, taxes, or bills, then pay them
  4. Assess the validity of claims against the estate, then pay the ones that are legitimate
  5. Identify beneficiaries and distribute the remaining property to the right person

If you fail to act in the best interest of the estate or its beneficiaries, then you will be responsible for any losses.

Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Law Specialist in Riverside County

Attorney Sandoval is a probate specialist as well as a certified taxation law specialist and a certified elder law attorney. When you choose the assistance of our office, you will receive legal support based on experience, knowledge, and achievements. We are dedicated to helping our clients prepare the estate plan that will help them effectively pursue their desires. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation.

Dennis M. Sandoval
Rated by Super Lawyers

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Dennis M. Sandoval
Rated by Super Lawyers

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Academy of Special Needs Planners | Dennis M. Sandoval
Special Needs Alliance | Member since 2008
Riverside County Bar Association | Dennis M. Sandoval

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