Santa Ana Probate Attorney
Having to deal with the legal aspects of distributing assets after a loved one has passed away can be difficult and stressful. The proper and guiding legal representation can help ease this process and ensure that you can focus on your family and more important aspects of your life. Our Santa Ana Probate Attorney (Norma Duenas, Esq) will provide you with the guidance and support you need to navigate the probate process efficiently and stress free.
What Is Probate and When Is It Needed?
The probate process is a legal process through which the court establishes that the person who passed away had a valid will or died without a will. As part of the probate process an executor or personal representative is appointed to gather assets, distribute assets to beneficiaries or heirs, and pay creditor claims. Once the executor or personal representative is appointed they are given certain powers to deal with assets of the estate. Some actions may require court oversight and approval prior to the executor or personal representative being able to take the action.
A probate process is generally required if the person who passed away had assets and there is no living trust distributing those assets or if there is a will that distributes the assets. When a person dies without a will they are referred to as dying intestate and assets are probated so that they pass to the beneficiaries based on the state law. Since the decedent left no will specifying to who the assets are to be distributed the state probate laws are used to determine who are the heirs. The probate process is used to select a personal representative who will oversee and distribute the assets based on the laws of intestacy.
If there is a will then generally an executor is named in the will. The executor has the fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries. Once the executor has been appointed by the probate court they must gather the assets of the decedent, determine if there are any valid debts to pay and distribute assets according to the terms of the will.
How Long Does the Probate Process Take?
The probate process in California can take approximately 1.5 years to 2 years to complete. The beginning of the process requires that you submit a Probate Petition and that you give notice to all of the potential beneficiaries and interested parties of a hearing on petition to administer estate. The interested parties are given an opportunity to object to the probate petition to appoint an executor or personal representative.
If you would like to prepare a probate petition on your own we have provided the instructions on how to in How to Fill Out A Petition for Probate in California? If you would like to consult with our Probate Attorney on getting the process started through out law office please contact us at 714-872-8187 to speak to Norma Duenas, Esq.