Probate is the legal process to administer a decedent’s estate. Court probate proceedings are not always necessary and can be avoided in many cases. If Court proceedings are required, we assist you through the process, provide advice and help with handling any issues that may arise. Most probate matters can be handled cost-effectively and without litigation.
The probate process determines the valid last will or the heirs of the decedent, provides for payment of creditors and distribution of the estate assets. The process can be formal, informal or in some cases small estate procedures can be utilized. Some assets may pass outside the probate process, such as life insurance and retirement and pension benefits.
Probate matters can be very complex and may involve tax issues, family disputes, community property rights, rights of children from prior relationships, creditor claims, business and real estate issues. We have many years of experience helping families handle all these matters.
Formal or informal probates include the following steps:
- Filing an application or petition
- Validating the Will or determining heirs
- Giving Notice of the probate
- Preparing an Inventory
- Handling tax and creditor matters
- Liquidating or distributing property
- Preparing (or waiving) an accounting of the estate
- Completing final distribution
- Closing the estate
It is important that families get the advice they need to comply with the legal requirements and make the process as efficient and smooth as possible at a very difficult time.