A probate Will refers to estates where the decedent engaged in estate planning, but didn’t take steps to avoid probate. This procedure is required to validate the last Will and identify assets owned by the decedent so their estate can be settled.
The probate Will provides written directives to designate a personal representative to handle affairs upon death. Wills also name beneficiaries who should receive estate assets, life insurance proceeds, and cash held in banks, retirement accounts, or investment portfolios.
The manner in which probate is conducted is governed by the jurisdiction where the decedent resided. However, if decedents owned real estate or a business in another state then probate might also need to be carried out in that jurisdiction.
There are different types of probate which vary by state. For instance, California has traditional probate, small estates with no real estate, small estate with real estate, simplified probate for small estates with real property, and trust petitions.
Due to the fact that there are so many variables and types of probate it is recommended to consult with an estate attorney. Not only can lawyers simplify estate planning probate they can also assist with settlement proceedings.
The fact of the matter is traditional probate can be very costly and time-consuming. In California, this process takes a minimum of seven months to complete and costs around 8 percent of the gross estate value.
Traditional probate is generally required when the value of owned assets surpasses $100,000. The process can be avoided by engaging in strategic planning such as setting up living trusts, revocable trusts, or irrevocable trusts.
Estates valued below $100,000 might be able to undergo a simplified probate process that is less intrusive. Small estates with real estate holdings can file a petition through the probate court.
Personal representatives must supply the court with a property appraisal and inventory of estate assets. A probate judge determines if the estate qualifies for small estate exemption. If so, the process can normally be completed within two months.
Every person ought to take time to prepare a last will and testament. It isn’t hard to do, nor does it take a lot of time. In the end, it will save family members time and money and lessen the chore of settling probated estates.
Working with an estate attorney ensures choosing the most effective strategies for your personal situation. While probate Wills are quite helpful when settling estates, they are only one facet of estate planning. Other considerations include establishing power of attorney rights, healthcare proxies, and trusts.
In instances where loved ones suddenly pass away, the added burden of estate settlement can become overwhelming. Most people are unaware of how to probate a Will or oversee a trust. Estate lawyers can help pick up the pieces and either assist with or handle the entire process.
The law firm of Craton, Switzer and Tokar specializes in California estate planning and helping clients protect assets and inheritance gifts. We also represent clients with probate disputes and trust accounting matters.