A last will and testament is a legal document that must be pursuant to estate planning law. A competent estate attorney can help you with all the relevant legal processes, especially if probate is involved.
Pursuant to probate laws, such a proceeding begins when the executor of a will formally file a petition for probate. (Note that the executor must file in the county where the deceased person resided). In the absence of an appointed executor, a family member can petition to be appointed as administrator. Whether an executor or administrator files the relevant court forms, the filing fee will be around $435.
The validity of the last will and testament is often established by having witnesses submit a sworn statement. Also part of probate proceedings is to give formal notices to beneficiaries. Letters Testamentary (or, if applicable, Letters of Administration) would be issued. Such will grant the estate executor authority over the assets of the deceased.
The next steps would be: setting up a filing system for bills and benefits, applying for a tax identification number, and opening a bank account for the estate. Paperwork for the inventory and appraisal of probate property must also be compiled and filed in the probate court. All these are pursuant to inheritance law.
Part of the probate process is the safe-keeping of estate assets. An heirloom, for instance, must be guarded against damage or theft. A house must be maintained and covered by an insurance policy. The executor or administrator must also file relevant estate tax returns and tax returns for the decedent.
Under the California probate code, any creditor may come forward with claims on debts within four months. to come forward with their claims. Most of the time, however, formal claims are no longer received. The executor of the estate will simply pay outstanding bills, such as medical expenses for the final illness. If the money isn’t sufficient for valid claims, state law specifies the order by which claims must be paid from the estate of the deceased.
Once all taxes and bills are settled, the executor of the estate asks the court to close such. Only after doing so can the executor proceed with distributing the assets of the estate to whoever shall inherit them.
The probate procedure can be lengthy and complicated, so the most practical advice people get is to avoid probate as much as possible. While avoiding probate (and dealing with one) can be easier said than done, it is not entirely impossible. With research and with the help of competent probate attorneys, it can be done, and with less stress on your part.
If you find yourself in a circumstance where any of the above would be applicable, get a probate attorney from a law firm whose specialization is trusts and estates. Hire a specialist in estate planning laws.
If you have questions on living wills, types of trusts, estate taxes, or power of attorney, talk to us. Contact us at Moschetti Law Group to consult with a hands-on probate attorney. Call us at 888-664-1848.