Probate refers to the court proceeding of administering an individual’s estate after they pass away. The deceased individual is referred to as the “decedent.” Probate proceedings can characterized as a proceeding to “prove the will” of a decedent. When there is no will left by the decedent, property will pass via intestate succession – by order of priority established by California law.
While there are other options available to individuals to transfer property upon death (joint tenancy, the execution of an inter vivos, or living, trust), often times probate proceedings are necessary to fully administer a deceased individual’s estate. Therefore, the term “probate” is fairly broad and generally refers to the entire process of administering an estate even when there are other plans in place to transfer property upon death.
What is involved in settling an estate?
In order to settle an estate, the following steps must be undertaken:
The executor, or attorney, must determine what property is owned by the decedent;
All taxes and debts owed by the decedent must be paid;
Property must be ultimately distributed to the corresponding beneficiaries
The property will be distributed to those beneficiaries as named in the decedent’s will. If there was no will, then the decedent’s assets will be distributed via intestate succession.
When is probate necessary?
Probate is usually necessary when the deceased individual’s estate exceeds $150,000. If the estate is less than $150,000, no formal probate proceedings are necessary. However, if the estate exceeds that amount, formal probate proceedings are required.
How long does it take to settle an estate?
When formal court procedure is required, it typically takes about 7 to 9 months for the process to complete. However, if the estate is more complex, it can take much longer. On the other hand, if the decedent had taken steps to avoid the probate process, such as establishing a living trust, the estate may be settled much quicker.
How Randhawa Hundal LLP Can Help
Settling an estate can be a daunting and time-consuming task. The attorneys at Randhawa Hundal LLP can assist you throughout the process and significantly ease the burden carried by the probate process. Call our office today to speak to one of our attorneys regarding your case.
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