In the state of California, an individual’s estate usually goes through probate when they pass away. To ensure that all of the money and property in a person’s estate is distributed properly to their heirs, the probate process is implemented. The probate process is lengthy and detailed, even when there is a will involved. The traditional steps required for probate proceedings include the following:

  • Proof of the existence of a will
  • Identification and inventory of the property
  • Appraisal of the property
  • Payment of debts and taxes
  • Distribution of the remaining assets

Cross Law APC can help in any probate issues that may arise when a loved one’s estate is to be distributed.

First Steps for an Executor

An executor must first file the petition to initiate the probate process with the California Superior Court in the county where the individual was living at the time of death. A petition is required for the court to schedule a hearing. The hearing is usually scheduled within 30 days of filing the petition.



Proof of Will

If there is an existing will, it is normal and usually necessary to prove that the will is valid. If the will contains specific required language and references an affidavit from the witnesses that signed the will, the will is considered “self-proving” and does not require this step. The qualifications on whether a “self-proving” will can be recognized vary from state to state. Cross Law APC is familiar with these specific laws and can help you with this process.


What happens if there is no will?

In the case that an individual has no will, their property will not end up in the hands of the state, but rather with relatives of the descendent. If the individual at hand does not have any surviving relatives, the estate will then “escheat” to the county where they lived at the time of death. This situation can be avoided by creating a will or trust and designating the distribution of your assets.



Let Cross Law APC Help in the Probate Process

The main objective of your estate plan should be to preserve your estate so your loved ones are protected. Our lawyers can help you reach this objective through estate and probate planning. There are many steps when planning your estate and going through the probate process that Cross Law APC can support your loved ones with.

Once the petition to initiate the probate process is filed, a notice of the scheduled hearing must be published at least three times in a local media outlet. Everyone named in the will must also be notified of the petition and hearing. Once the petition is in place, the executor must take possession of the assets of the probate estate and inventory all of the contents.

The publication of the notice of death allows any creditors with debts to submit a claim with the probate court. Once proven valid, the claims must be paid from the estate before assets can be distribute amongst family members. The executor must also pay all estate taxes from the estate before the distribution of assets.

Finally, to end the probate process, the executor must close the estate which requires an accounting to be submitted to the court of all transactions made regarding the estate. While the probate process may take some time to complete, it can usually be completed within six months to a year.

Contact Cross Law APC today to learn how we can help you handle any probate administration issues and to ensure your estate is taken care of.

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