Probate Lawyer in California

Updated: Apr 22

Find An Estate Attorney for Probate and Related Cases

When your parents, grandparents, and other loved ones make estate plans, they will appoint you as a beneficiary of such property or assets if they pass away. When these inheritances are larger, planning on how you can handle them in the future can be critical to cutting costs while increasing the value of the inheritance.

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Unfortunately, suppose someone you care about passes away. In that case, you will most likely already have a lot on your plate with funeral arrangements, telling family and friends, and mourning your tragic loss. The last thing you need to be concerned about right now is navigating a complex legal procedure that can leave people stressed and confused. One of the first people you can contact is an Estate Attorney in California, as challenging as it may be.

What is the definition of a probate asset?

Probate assets are assets that are exclusively in possession of the decedent. Probate properties are not those that pay-on-death clauses can pass. For example, if an asset is held in joint tenancy (but not in the tenancy in common) or if an appointed beneficiary has been chosen to obtain the asset after the owner's death, the asset is not subject to probate. The asset escapes probate when pay-on-death designations are rendered. All other properties are part of the estate, and if the overall value reaches $166,250, the estate must be probated in California. However, a spousal property petition will normally prevent formal probate if there is a surviving spouse.

Such beneficiary privileges that can come into play during probate proceedings include (but are not limited to):

  • Beneficiaries have the right to request and obtain an accounting of any of an estate's activities from the personal representative handling the estate in probate should they wish to be kept up to date with an estate's activities, including any payments received or monies obtained on behalf of an estate.

  • Beneficiaries who have a reason to suspect that a will or parts of it are invalid have the right to contest the validity of wills during the probate process.

  • Beneficiaries have the right to request relief from a personal representative if they believe the personal representative is not a good match for the estate (though it will be up to the court to decide this manner).