What is Probate?
When a loved one passes away, the grief that accompanies this event can be debilitating. If the person who passed away did not plan ahead, the California Probate process is something that will need to be handled in order to deal with your loved one’s possessions, and in some cases, even their children.
Probate literally means “prove the will.” Probate is required if there is a will, or if the person left no will at all.
A trust is not subject to probate.
When a person has planned ahead with a trust, you may need a little help to get started in carrying out the terms of the trust, or as a beneficiary, you may want to challenge the trustee when you feel they aren’t following the trust instructions.
When a person has a will or did not plan ahead and they leave assets behind, the courts will likely need to get involved to help sort things out, or to validate the will. In some situations, a shortened and simplified process can be used. In others, no probate will be required at all.
Can I do the Probate myself?
You can handle the probate process by yourself. There is a great book called “How to Probate an Estate in California” published by NOLO. For simple estates, this can be a great resource. If you can stay organized, handle a lot of papers, draft letters, and keep to deadlines, you will likely be successful at handling your own probate.
However, you may want or need the help of an attorney during this time. A good attorney will put your mind at ease, has an eye for detail, and will work hard to wrap up your case quickly and efficiently. The probate process is notoriously slow, but it does not need to drag out longer than is needful. A good attorney will be mindful of your grief and your need to heal, while at the same time act as your advocate in court to carry out the terms of the will, contest the terms of the will, or help you with intestate succession problems.
If you would like to make an appointment, please call (661) 234-8183.