Oceanside Probate Attorney
Probate is the process of distributing the estate of someone who recently died. Because of the intricacies involved in probate, it’s best to seek legal advice from a Oceanside probate attorney. Dealing with the death of a family member or a loved one is difficult enough. You shouldn’t have to worry about handling a loved one’s estate when you should be spending this time with your family.
If you and your family are going through the probate process, call our Oceanside probate attorney at Century Trusts & Estate Planning. We will deal with the legal aspect of probate and help resolve any disputes that arise so you can focus on what matters most.
Why Do I Need an Oceanside Probate Attorney?
It is tough to deal with the loss of a loved one. The last thing anybody wants is to have to encounter the stress of the probate process. Handling the affairs and the estate of a deceased loved one can seem overwhelming. At Century Trusts & Estate Planning, we help grieving families navigate California probate rules to ensure that the estate administration process goes as smoothly as possible.
- Extensive Experience. Our seasoned Oceanside probate attorney has an in-depth knowledge of California probate law and experience in handling estate planning, probate administration, probate litigation, trust administration, and trust litigation cases.
- Wide-Range of Legal Services. We provide a broad range of estate planning services for our clients in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, Fallbrook, Encinitas, Solana Beach, La Costa, Leucadia, Cardiff, and its surrounding areas.
- Minimize Potential Disputes and Litigation. We work diligently to help minimize potential disputes and avoid expensive and time-consuming probate litigation. We provide an unbiased perspective on the situation to ensure that the estate is settled fairly.
- Protect the Estate. Our California estate planning attorney ensures that the assets and properties are kept safe and prevent unjust claims.
- Assist Executors and Beneficiaries. Our legal team can accomplish many things to settle an estate and guide the executor and beneficiaries during the probate process and estate administration.
To ensure that the property goes to the right people in the right way, contact us to schedule an initial consultation with the best Oceanside probate attorney.
What is Probate?
Probate is a legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate. The probate process involves validating wills, paying off debts and taxes, and distributing assets to named beneficiaries. This is accomplished with the assistance of the local probate court.
A deceased person’s estate must be settled and distributed with or without a will. The exact probate process can vary depending on the instructions left in the will, assets, creditors, and beneficiaries the estate has. Call an Oceanside probate lawyer to understand how probate works and find out how this affects your probate procedures.
When Is Probate Necessary?
Whether or not an estate has to go through probate depends on several factors. Most states allow a certain amount of property to pass free of probate or through a simplified probate procedure. Whether probate is needed depends on the property type, how it is owned, and the state laws. A trusted Oceanside probate attorney in California can help you figure out if the assets owned by the decedent are probate assets.
Property and assets that are only in the decedent’s name are part of the probate estate. If the decedent owned any property in their sole name, then that property must be probated to get out of the decedent’s name and transferred into the names of the decedent’s beneficiaries.
Some property may not be part of the probate estate because it passes directly to another person by law. Examples of this include when some or all of a decedent’s property is:
- Payable-on-death accounts
- Jointly held property where there is a right of survivorship
- Property held in a trust created by the decedent
- Proceeds from a life insurance policy, retirement account, or bank account that names a beneficiary
How Long Does Probate Take?
Probate can take several months, even years, before it is completed. It can also be complicated, especially if wills are contested. The process involves many steps, all of which are necessary to transfer ownership of assets from the deceased to a beneficiary. The length of the probate process depends on many factors, such as:
- The number of beneficiaries
- Type and size of the estate
- If some taxes and debts need to be paid
- If there are issues with the estate plan
Probating a simple estate with no issues can take anywhere from nine months to a year. However, if there is a will contest or large estate, it can take two years or longer. A skilled Oceanside probate attorney can help you understand how probate works, the reasons behind the timeline, and which steps take longer.
Who is Responsible for Handling Probate?
If the deceased person had a valid will or trust, those documents would communicate the intentions of the decedent, including how to administer the estate. Then, the court appoints the executor or personal representative named in the will to manage the estate administration. The executor has numerous duties concerning wills. After opening probate with a qualified Oceanside probate attorney, the executor will assist in identifying, collecting, and evaluating assets.
Without a will, the deceased is said to have died “intestate.” The probate court will determine how and to whom assets from the estate will be distributed according to the state laws of intestate succession.
How Does Probate Work?
Probate laws and procedures may vary from state to state. Our experienced Oceanside probate attorney can help you through this complex process. Generally, the probate process typically involves the following steps:
- Submit a Death Certificate – The executor of the estate will initiate the probate process by filing the death certificate with the probate court along with the will.
- Validate the Will – The court must ensure that the will is valid and authentic.
- Appoint an Executor or Personal Representative – The probate judge appoints the executor named in the will. Without a will, the judge shall appoint someone else to handle the estate.
- Post a Bond – The court may require the personal representative to post a probate bond because they will handle money, property, and assets.
- Notify Beneficiaries and Creditors – The executor is responsible for identifying beneficiaries and notifying creditors of the probate administration.
- Appraise Assets to Determine the Value of the Estate – The executor must get real estate appraisals, make an inventory of personal property, and value the estate assets.
- Pay Valid Debts and Taxes – The executor must settle all debts and taxes.
- Distribute Assets to Beneficiaries – After paying estate debts, taxes, and claims, the remaining assets will be distributed to the named beneficiaries.
- Close the Estate – The personal representative files a final accounting with the court to close probate.
Call Our Oceanside Probate Attorney Now!
Navigating through probate is not an easy task. It is usually an expensive and lengthy process. It requires you to know the California probate rules and procedures. Because estate administration is such an important matter, you must complete the probate process as efficiently as possible.
Working with our experienced Oceanside probate attorney at Century Trusts & Estate Planning is the best way to ensure the probate process is as smooth and painless as possible. We ensure that you follow the probate laws every step of the way, including any documentation you submit. Our California estate planning law firm is ready to advocate for you if you disagree or dispute with another beneficiary, ensuring your rights are protected. Call us to schedule a consultation with our Oceanside probate lawyer today.