Elder Care Law California

The last thing you want to be worried about when grieving the loss of a loved one is the formalities of Inheritance laws and/or internal fights with other beneficiaries. Leave legal challenges and protection of your rights to our compassionate lawyers. We will advocate for you and efficiently transfer all assets to which you are entitled.

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Probate- is a court supervised legal proceeding during which the descendant's assets are transferred to beneficiaries or heirs at law.

Probate FAQs:

      1. Do I need to open a probate?       2. Who opens a probate?       3. Do I have to serve as estate administrator?       4. Where is the petition filed?       5. How long will the probate take to close?       6. How much will a probate cost?       7. What do I need to know about probate proceedings?       8. What are the duties of the personal representative/administrator of the estate?       9. How can personal representative/administrator be held liable?

1. Do I need to open a probate?
Probate is not always needed.
For example if the descendant's asset has been funded into the trust or vested as joint tenancy, probate proceedings will not be necessary for that asset. There is no need to open a probate if there are beneficiary designations on retirement and other financial accounts.

If the estate is less than a hundred thousand dollars a simplified procedure of small estates affidavit can be used. However if there is real estate, probate will probably have to be opened anyway. Also, if there is a surviving spouse, assets could be transferred through a spousal property petition.

Even if in your case the probate may not be necessary, it may still be useful to open one especially if there are potential debts owed by estate and the deadline is needed to be set for creditors to establish claims.

Let our law offices help you determine whether probate is necessary for the estate, call our office at 1-866-822-7211 and we will help you transfer assets to the beneficiaries with or without probate.

2. Who opens a probate?
A person designated as executor in a will shall petition a court to be appointed as personal representative of the estate. If there is no will, then the closest heir at law (the priority of which is named in probate code) shall petition the court to be appointed as an administrator of the estate. The court issues the Letters of Testamentary appointing a personal representative or administrator of the estate, provided nobody contests the issue or is not otherwise precluded to serve by law (e.g. minors, persons under conservatorship, and some others).

An Executor usually retains an attorney to represent him throughout probate. Let us help you to prepare the petition effectively and efficiently, call us at 1-866-822-7211.

3. Do I have to serve as estate administrator?
No. Even if you are named in the will as an executor, you are not obligated to serve. If you refuse to petition the court to be appointed, the next named executor will have a right to do so. However, if you decided to take on a post of estate representative, it is a fiduciary duty and you will have to serve diligently and honestly with a lot of other fiduciary duties coming along. Your resignation in the middle of the process will have to be accompanied with the detailed accounting of what has been done.

Even if you do not have to serve as administrator, you may want to as that entitles you to charge the estate the fees for this duty.

Serving as an administrator does not have to be a painful and overwhelming procedure for you, please call our law offices at 1-866-822-7211 so we can help you.

4. Where is the petition filed?
The petition is usually filed in the California Superior Court probate department in the county where the descendant was living.

However, you may also have to open probate in a different state if the descendant had real estate outside California.

Let our law offices help you prepare the petition in the most effective and efficient manner, call us at 1-866-822-7211.

5. How long will the probate take to close?
Probate may be a lengthy procedure, especially if it gets contested or other procedural mistakes are made.

California law compels the personal representative to close probate in 8 months or 1 year in case when federal tax is being filed. That gives the sufficient time of 4 months to creditors to raise the claims and also includes the time for the hearing that is usually set within 6 months from the filing date. If the closing does not happen within the time specified, the status report of the case must be submitted. A court may order an accounting of the estate, lower or deny compensation or even replace representative.

A probate may last even several years if the will, appointment of the administrator or beneficiary clauses get contested.

Call our law offices at 1-866-822-7211 to help you close the probate in a fast and timely manner.

6. How much will a probate cost?
A probate filing fee in California is $355 and may cost a little more varying from county to county.

Attorney fees in probate are set by statute and depend on the size of the estate. For the first $100,000 of the estate value attorney will get 4%, for the next $100,000 it will go down to 3% and the for the next $800,000 it will drop to 2%, then 1% of the next $9 million, 0.5% of the next 15 million.

The value of the estates is determined by appraisal and inventory of the assets, minus the debts owed. However, determining the value of the real property for the fee purposes, mortgage is not deducted and full appraised value of the property is added to the estate.

Besides Attorney fees, personal representative is entitled to get paid as well! In California the administrator, executor or personal representative of the estate is allowed to charge the estate the same amount of fees as presented above. Such fees are considered income and shall be added to the income tax returns, thus making it unreasonable to charge if personal representative and the beneficiary is the same and only person.

Also, there are other fees during probate such as appraisal fees, bond fees, publication fees, miscellaneous court fees.

Please call our law offices at 1-866-822-7211 to help you get a just compensation for serving as a personal representative and effectively and timely close your case.

7. What do I need to know about probate proceedings?
After the petition to appoint a personal representative or administrator has been filed, a court will set a hearing date. The notices to all potential beneficiaries about the hearing date will have to be sent. A publication may have to be submitted in order to put all potentially available beneficiaries on notice. A hearing will be held. If no beneficiaries object to the appointment of representative the hearing will be very minimal. Letters of Testamentary will be issued by court assigning the representative/administrator of the estate. The bond may have to be filed to secure the property of the estate. Probate referee will be appointed by court to conduct the asset inventory and appraisal submitted by the representative of the estate. After all of the duties of the personal representative are completed, another petition asking the court to allow to distribute the property to the beneficiaries will be submitted. After that is approved and the property is distributed, final receipts of distribution shall be filed.

Our experienced law offices are well versed in the probate proceedings, let us help you handle your estate in the best possible manner, call us 1-866-822-7211.

8. What are the duties of the personal representative/administrator of the estate?
There are a lot of duties that personal representative will have to complete before the property distribution to beneficiaries will be approved by court.

Such duties will include locating and notifying the creditors of the estate, paying their claims, paying funeral bills, maintaining assets of the estate, protecting estate from losses, paying ongoing bills, notifying of death all of the financial institutions, like banks and Social Security, preparing income tax for the last year of the descendant, locating all of the assets as well as preparing the inventory of all property, locating heirs, figuring out the share that each heir is entitled to, opening estate checking account to receive funds on behalf of the estate.

Let our probate law offices help you cope with the extensive duties of the personal representative and probate proceedings, call us 1-866-822-7211, so we could handle it all for you.

9. How can personal representative/administrator be held liable?
Personal Representative can be held liable for improper management of the estate. For Example failure to collect money or other assets due to the estate, selling or transferring assets of the estate without court authorization, overpaying creditors or certain beneficiaries, distributing property to beneficiaries before paying all of the creditors first, distributing property to the wrong beneficiaries, etc.

To avoid exposing yourself to potential liability, trust your probate case to a professional, call us 1-866-822-7211 so we could help.

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