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What Is Probate?

Probate is the court-supervised process developed under California law which has as its goal the transfer of your assets at your death to the beneficiaries set forth in your Will, and in the manner prescribed by your Will.

Probate also provides for the determination of valid claims of any creditors who have claims against your assets at your death.

At the beginning of a probate administration, a petition is filed with the court, usually by the person or institution named in your will as executor. After notice is given, and a hearing is held, your will is admitted to probate and an executor is appointed. If you die “intestate” (that is, without a will), your estate is still subject to probate court administration and the person appointed by the court to handle your estate is known as the “administrator.”

If the assets in your name alone at your death do not include an interest in real estate and have a total value of less than $100,000, then generally the beneficiaries under your will may follow a statutory procedure to effect the transfer of those assets pursuant to your will, subject to your debts and expenses, without a formal court-supervised probate administration.

A probate has advantages and disadvantages. The probate court is accustomed to resolvi ng disputes about the distribution of your assets in accordance with defined rules. In addition, you are assured that the actions and accountings of your executor will be reviewed and approved by the probate court.

Disadvantages of a probate include its public nature; your estate plan and the value of your assets become a public record. Also, because lawyer’s fees and executor’s commissions are based upon a statutory fee schedule, the expenses will likely be greater than the expenses incurred by a comparable estate managed and distributed under a Living Trust.

Time can also be a factor; often distributions can be made pursuant to a living trust more quickly than in a probate proceeding.

To further discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a probate proceeding, contact the Law Offices of DeLonda K. Coleman.

For Probate Representation, contact the Law Offices of DeLonda K. Coleman at 916.422.1446.

For upcoming FREE Estate Planning Seminars, click on the following link: FREE SEMINARS.

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