A loved one has died, and you discover they have not left a will or a trust. Now, what happens? It depends but you may want to speak with a probate attorney.
Here are some circumstances to consider:
- Was the individual married and is the spouse alive? If the answer is yes then most items in the estate can be transferred via an affidavit. This may include bank accounts and vehicles.
- What is the value of the estate?
- In the state of California, if the estate totals $150,000 or less and there is no real property involved, then it does not need to go through probate.
- If the estate is valued at less than $150,000 and includes real property then you will need to file and submit paperwork. This may include a Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property and an Inventory and Appraisal as well as providing all interested parties with a Notice of Hearing form.
- If, however, the estate is valued at $150,000 or more, it must go through the regular probate process.
What is Probate?
Probate comes from Latin verb x` which means “to prove.” You must prove to the court that the trust and/or will left by the deceased is valid in the eyes of the law. This guarantees that the finances and property are distributed to the rightful heirs.
Benefits of Using an Probate Lawyer
Probate in California can be a confusing and lengthy process, causing undue stress for someone unprepared to deal with it all. Although in some cases, settling an estate can be handled without an attorney, it isn’t the wisest move. Probate lawyers are intimately familiar with local and state laws regarding estates and probate. Seeking out expert advice, especially with estates that have the potential for complications to arise, is often a good idea. Consult a probate attorney, and make sure you are taking all the details into consideration.
Over the years, the Law Office of Richard T. Miller has helped hundreds of clients in the greater Los Angeles area process their estates. For your probate, estate or trust questions, contact Richard T. Miller, Esq. today.