The probate process ensures the proper distribution of a decedent’s assets and the payment of their debts. During probate, courts have the authority to authenticate a will, appoint an executor, and oversee that executor’s actions. However, executors are responsible for paying a deceased person’s debts and distributing their assets. It is only once this process is complete that probate will end.
The probate process in Orange County can be a confusing time for heirs and executors. Fortunately, an experienced probate attorney could provide guidance and valuable advice to family members of a deceased loved one.
Submitting a Will to the Court
Probate begins when an interested party submits a formal petition to the court. This petition must include information about a decedent, their heirs, and their will if one exists.
Validating the Will
The next step is to validate the will. If a will contains a testator’s signature and the signatures of two witnesses, the will is presumptively valid. However, any party who has an interest in the will or would stand to inherit if the will did not exist has the right to question the will’s authenticity by filing a challenge in court. Once a court answers these concerns, it can appoint an executor who will oversee the terms of the will.
A tenacious attorney in Orange County could take the lead in preparing and submitting these documents on behalf of relatives or nominated executors to ensure that probate will begin promptly and without any challenges.
Appointment of an Executor
According to California Probate Code § 8402, a person can nominate an executor in their will. Alternatively, the court may appoint an executor if someone refuses the role or a will does not nominate anyone. Generally, any person over 18 may serve in this role.
Once the court certifies an executor, it will issue testamentary letters granting the individual power to administer the estate. These privileges include opening bank accounts, taking temporary possession of a decedent’s property, paying their debts, and distributing their assets. Executors in Orange County must keep logs of their actions to satisfy their probate duties to the court and the estate itself.
Winding Down the Estate
When an executor believes they have paid all debts and transferred all property, they may file paperwork with the court to close the estate. The court will then examine the list of the decedent’s assets and compare it with the will and the executor’s logs.
If the court believes that the estate has fulfilled its purpose, the court will close the estate. If not, the court may direct the executor to continue its role. By retaining a knowledgeable lawyer in Orange County, an executor could ensure they fulfill all requirements for probate within the appropriate timeframe.
The Orange County Probate Process Ensures the Correct Administration of an Estate
Nearly every will must go through the state’s probate process. This process ensures the authenticity of a will, the payment of a decedent’s debts, and the distribution of their assets.
Anyone can start the process once they submit a valid will to the court as part of a complete petition to initiate probate. Once the necessary steps have been completed, the probate process in Orange County ends. Reach out to an attorney today to learn more about the probate process.