Probate Administration

Whether you’re the executor or beneficiary of a probate estate, it’s important to have a good understanding of the the probate proceeding. Here’s a step-by-step guide that will give you a good idea of the probate process in the state of California.

If you have questions or would like assistance with the probate process, contact our team of experienced attorneys at Moschetti Law Group for a no-obligation introductory call.

The first step in the probate process involves filing a petition with the California Superior Court in the deceased’s county of residence. The court will schedule a hearing within about thirty days.

A notice regarding the scheduled hearing must be published at least three times in the local paper. The notice must also be mailed to all beneficiaries named in the will, all legal heirs, and all creditors of the deceased.

A notice regarding the scheduled hearing must be published at least three times in the local paper. The notice must also be mailed to all beneficiaries named in the will, all legal heirs, and all creditors of the deceased.

Either a person named in the decedent’s will must accept the role of executor, or the court will appoint an individual to be the administrator of the estate.

The executor or administrator will take possession of all assets in the decedent’s estate subject to probate. This includes transferring titles into the executor’s name. These assets will need to be inventoried, and some of them will need to be appraised

Creditors must submit claims for any debts owed to them. If the executor accepts the claim as valid, they should pay the creditor from the estate. If the executor denies the claim, the creditor has three months to file a lawsuit if they choose to dispute the decision. All debts must be paid before any distribution of assets can be made.

The executor files any outstanding income tax returns for the year before the death and the income earned until the date of death of the current year. He or she also files federal estate taxes on the value of the estate after deductions and exemptions.

After all bills, debts, and taxes have been paid, the executor provides a detailed accounting of all actions to the court and the beneficiaries of the estate. This accounting is filed in a petition, including the fees due to the executor and any attorneys. Once approved by the court, the executor can distribute the rest of the assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries.

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