FAQs About Probate In Palmdale, California
Probation can be complicated and hard to understand. However, you can't escape it in most estate law procedures. With the stakes involved in properties and documents going into probate, coming in blind would put you at a disadvantage.
That said, let's talk about the most pressing questions about California Probate Laws, as our prescreened Palmdale Estate Law Attorneys often handle them.
How Long Does Probate Take?
According to California law, a will executor or other representative of the deceased must finish the probate procedure within one year of their appointment (typically months after the date of death), or they must formally explain their inability to the court.
In actuality, though, the process can take anywhere from 18 to 24 months, depending on how busy the courts are or if an error is made along the route.
A prescreened Palmdale Estate Law Attorney will be able to help you organize and compile necessary documents, as well as remind you of important deadlines.
What Are the Probate Fees in California?
Court fees, executor's fees, appraisal fees for properties, prices for certified copies of documents, accounting fees, and legal fees all count as probate fees.
If a Will is challenged, or if the beneficiaries disagree with distribution in any other way, the expenses will very certainly be significantly higher, and the process could take years to conclude.
Is it Really Necessary for Me to Go Through Probate?
It's a frequent and dangerous misconception that a Will is all you need to claim an inheritance. A "Last Will & Testament" does not protect you from going through probate in California.
Instead, consider a Will to be a document written to a probate judge explaining the deceased's wishes. You give the Will to a judge at probate, and the judge chooses what happens next.
Ask your Palmdale Estate Law Attorney about the legal process you must undertake.
What Happens If the Executor Fails to Prove the Will?
To be clear, unless you have assets that are obviously not subject to probate, you cannot simply read a Will and perform what it says without going through the court system.
Even if you're the executor of the Will, you could be charged if you are not a spouse or a valid Trustee of an estate and simply take possession of, say, cash lying about the house or a car or withdraw money from the deceased's account.
If you are nominated as an executor but do nothing to start probate, you could be held personally accountable for the estate's expenses and financial consequences for the deceased's heirs.
Which Assets Aren't Subject to Estate Probate?
Some assets may be liable to probate court distribution, while others may not. For starters, any assets placed in a Living Trust before death will not have to go through probate court; instead, they will be dispersed according to the rules of the Trust by the new Trustee.
Similarly, because life insurance payouts are made directly to beneficiaries, they do not have to go through probate. Assets held in banks and investment organizations with Payable on Death (POD) or Transfer on Death (TOD) beneficiaries properly stated on paperwork at the institution can be transferred straight to those beneficiaries without going through probate. Even if probate happens, most retirement savings are transferred using PODs outside of probate.
Of course, any properties jointly owned by couples can be claimed by the surviving spouse without having to go through probate. Assets not owned jointly are a separate situation, and probate will almost certainly be required.
Any assets not covered by one of the foregoing scenarios, will or no will, will have to go through Probate Court. For example, your loved one may have established a Living Trust but failed to re-title their home to the Trust. Alternatively, they may not have properly listed PODs on an investing account.
For more details, ask your Palmdale Estate Lawyer. They'll know what to do and how to handle your case in your interest.
What If Something Gets Left Out?
What if your loved one created a Living Trust, but one of their most valuable assets was left out? Depending on the particular wording of the Trust, you may have certain options for avoiding probate on those assets.
You may be able to petition for specific exclusions in certain instances, such as if a Living Trust names a house as a Trust asset, but no paperwork was ever filed to put the house under that Trust.
Find An California Estate Lawyer in Palmdale
We can refer you to an experienced prescreened Estate Lawyer in California who is best fit to handle your case.
Contact us through our 24/7 live chat (or complete our case submission form) for a free initial consultation.