Jessica is a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (C.P.R.E.S.), guided by years of experience and expertise, who can help you maximize your real estate investment.
All About Probate
Losing a loved one is an unfortunate but inevitable part of life. While others are mourning the loss of their loved ones, they also face a daunting and complicated task of handling the estate. While it may sound simple, a probate process can be time-consuming and it can be expensive. The last thing you want to do is attend and sit on a court house for months end.
Simply put, a probate is a legal proceeding that takes place after someone dies.
- proving in court that a deceased person’s will is valid
- identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property
- having the property appraised
- paying debts and taxes, and
- distributing the remaining property as the will (or state law, if there’s no will) directs.
In general, probate property is distributed according to the decedent’s last will and testament, if there is one, or according to state law if no will exists. The purpose of the probate process is to safeguard the deceased’s estate, pay all debts and taxes and resolve who is entitled to what assets and to disburse the property accordingly.
- Decedent – The legal term for a deceased person
- Beneficiary – The individual or corporation who receives the benefit of a transaction
- Personal Representative – Also called an executor or administrator. The person appointed by a court to act on behalf of the deceased person in connection with the administration of a decendent’s estate.
California Probate Process
Step 1 In most cases, the person requesting appointment as personal representative (executor or administrator) hires an experienced probate lawyer to prepare and file a Petition for Probate. In some cases, the person requesting appointment will handle the probate without hiring a lawyer, as discussed above.
Step 2 The probate lawyer, or the petitioner without a lawyer, arranges to mail notice to everyone named in the decedent’s Will (when there is a Will) and all his/her legal heirs about the death and the probate hearing. The notice must also be published in the newspaper where the decedent lived to let creditors know about the hearing. Notice gives everyone notified an opportunity to object to admitting the Will and to the appointment of the personal representative.
Step 3 The hearing usually takes place several weeks after the matter is filed. The purpose of the hearing is to determine the validity of the Will and to appoint the personal representative. Sometimes, the Court will need the people who witnessed the decedent’s signature on the Will to sign a declaration. If there are no objections, the court will approve the petition and appoint the personal representative.
Step 4 The personal representative must identify, take possession of, and manage the probate assets until all debts have been paid and tax returns filed. This process usually takes about a year. Depending on the terms of the Will (if there is a Will), and on the amount of the decedent’s debts, the personal representative may have to sell real estate, securities or other property. For example, if the Will makes cash gifts but the estate consists mostly of valuable artwork, the art may have to be appraised and sold to produce cash. Or, if there are unpaid debts, the personal representative may have to sell some of the estate property to pay them.
Step 5 After paying the debts and taxes, the personal representative must file a report with the court. The report accounts for all income received and payments made on behalf of the estate. The judge will then authorize the personal representative to divide the remaining property among the people or organizations named in the Will.
Step 6 The property will be transferred to its new owners.
Estate Executor’s Duties During the Probate Process
- Reads your will
- Safeguards your assets
- Petitions the court for probate of your will
- Assemblies and Inventories all of your assets
- Procures appraisal of all of your assets
- Administers your estate
- Makes all your tax returns
- Settles all proper claims
- Distributes your probate estate
- Obtains final discharge
Why We Are The Best Choice for your Probate Needs
One of the keys to Jessica’s success is the practice of delivering best-in-class service to all of her clients. Selling does not have to be a difficult process! If you are looking for a Certified Probate Expert in today’s real estate market who is attentive to your needs, result-driven and has a vast network of buyers, sellers and investors, look no further.
Contact us to find out more about how we can make the probate process easier!