When a loved one passes, their estate often passes through the court-managed probate process. The assets of the loved one are gathered, managed, and distributed. If they engaged in comprehensive estate planning, they may be able to avoid this step if their plan included a properly funded trust. However, the successor trustee will still need to manage the estate, just without the overview of a court.
The typical probate process includes the following steps:
- Filing a petition with the probate court.
- Providing notice to heirs under the will or intestacy statute.
- Appointment of the executor or administrator of the estate.
- Marshalling and valuing the estate assets.
- Payment of valid estate debts.
- Sale of estate assets.
- Payment of estate taxes.
- Final distribution of the estate to the heirs.
Of course, the steps may vary be taken in different orders based on each estate.
Organizing an estate plan can be frustrating and difficult, even for those familiar with the process. The typical time to complete the probate process in California is between 9 and 18 months, depending on whether any disputes exist, the aggressiveness of estate creditors, and similar factors.
Contact Yeager Law for any questions, comments, or concerns.