Effective estate planning is a complicated yet necessary endeavor that often requires a large time commitment. A major aspect of this undertaking is navigating probate, which refers to the process of a court validating estate planning documents like wills and determining which assets go to each beneficiary.
The probate process in Rosemead can be confusing, especially for someone who attempts to resolve complications without the assistance of a skilled legal representative. Fortunately, an experienced probate attorney could explain the various stages of the process and help the executor of an estate get started.
When is the Probate Process Necessary?
Navigating probate is not always a necessary part of estate administration, but figuring out whether a decedent’s assets need to pass through this system can become complicated.
Many inheritances that already have clearly designated beneficiaries do not need to go through probate. For example, an established life insurance policy that outlines what needs to happen with certain assets may not need to go through probate. In other situations, documents that are part of an estate plan, such as a living trust or a pour-over will, are also not subject to probate.
State laws establishes a minimum value for estates. Currently, any collection of assets that is worth less than $166,250.00 does not need to go through probate, but high value estates above this threshold are subject to the procedure. Some other factors might influence whether probate is necessary, but a knowledgeable attorney in Rosemead could assess a family’s situation to determine their next steps.
What Does the Probate Process Look Like?
The probate process is quite lengthy and often features many different phases. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from one to two years. The procedure begins with a personal representative submitting a probate petition, which is a request to open and examine a case. Afterward, there will be around two to three hearings that require the oversight of a probate referee. This induvial is assigned to a case to appraise assets, take inventory of an estate, determine who should inherit which items, and help expedite the distribution process. One other crucial aspect of most probate cases is ensuring that any outstanding debts are paid to creditors.
Who Usually Opens an Estate for Probate?
In most cases, a family member or close family friend is the person who submits a petition to initiate the probate process. To be more specific, courts often give priority to a decedent’s surviving spouses, children, or siblings. This person, after being designated the petitioner, will usually later be appointed by the court as a representative of the estate.
How Does the Probate Process End?
The probate process usually ends when all assets are correctly and completely redistributed to the right heirs or beneficiaries. After this reallocation of property, a judge will sign off on the case. The process would be considered closed and there would no longer be any required legal action.
These many stages can quickly become complicated to handle, especially without assistance. Fortunately, a well-practiced lawyer in Rosemead could further explain the stages of the probate process, to help a personal representative know what to expect.
Judicial and Administrative Probate
Depending on the circumstances of a case and the value of an estate, the details and length of the probate process might look difference. For instance, an estate could be subject to either a judicial (full) process or a shortened (administrative) probate.
Judicial or full probates usually apply when an estate is worth more than $166,250. A full process generally requires a judge to hold hearings, appoint a personal representative of the estate, require the personal representative to send notices to creditors, take inventory, and appraise every single one of the deceased’s items.
Meanwhile, estates worth less than $166,250 that do need to pass through probate are typically subject to a shortened or administrative procedure. The details of this more streamlined process differ depending on the nature of the estate, but a shortened procedure generally saves a personal representative valuable time. A seasoned attorney in Rosemead could help a family assess their estate to determine whether their probate process will be judicial or administrative.
Contact an Attorney About the Probate Process in Rosemead
Developing an estate plan, categorizing family assets, and beginning probate is already complicated, and the details of the process can differ significantly depending on the value and nature of the property in question. Attempting to navigate these steps on your own can quickly become overwhelming, so the probate process in Rosemead is best handled with the help of a diligent lawyer. Call the office today to get started on your case.