Thursday, August 29, 2013

Understanding Probate in California

Probate is the legal process that settles the property of the deceased person and tells how it should be equally distributed among the heirs and beneficiaries in case there is no will. The rules and regulations of probate vary form state to state and each state can have a different procedure and hearing process for probate. Some general guidance might be similar in most states but it is always advised to take help of a legal advisor in case you need to understand the probate process in your locality. Moreover you should understand that every probate case is different depending on the amount of money involved in it. The different property, debts and people involved in it make the whole case different from one other. There is no way that the rules and results of one probate case can apply to other case. Normally people have a view point that probate can be an ugly scene but the fact is that it can be easy if all parties involved in it work together for a positive outcome and preserve the memory of the deceased person.

In most cases, the property of the deceased person is transferred to his spouse if the person has not made any will before his expiry but in some conditions due to the parties' involved the property cannot be transferred to the spouse directly. The probate court which hears the matter of probate cases will get involved if there any issues relating to the property of the deceased person. The case has to go through a legal framework and the final order of the court has to be addressed by each person involved in the case. Now, since every state has different law regarding the probate so the hearings of the case in the court can be different in each state.

If the deceased person has a will and has named a representative,all the assets will be handled by this person unless the judge deems this person unfit, etc.If there is no representative named in the will then the court appoints a representative who handles the property unless the decision is made. The appointed representative is called the administrator and has sole responsibility of handling the property.

The Probate Process

In the initial phase the administrator opens the case in the court. During this period he evaluates the property and collects all the property of the deceased person. Few items which come under contract of the deceased person are not held in probate and they pass automatically to the beneficiary. Any bank accounts or other things which has the clause of "payable on death" are transferred to the person named in the contract. Only those limited property that have no clear beneficiaries are accountable for probate process. After accumulating all the property, the administrator sends a legal notice to all parties involved in the case and pays all the debts and claims which remain outstanding on the deceased name. Then the administrator distributes the remaining property to the beneficiaries of the decedent as instructed in the court's verdict.

If there are any disputes during the process then the court hearing decided upon the matter and the final verdict has to be agreed upon by every parties involved in the probate process. Anyone can file the claim on the property and if the court declines the claim then the opponent can file lawsuit to claim the property. If the lawsuit is made then court has to take the case more formally and this is when major problems occur during the probate process.

Normally, probate process take a longer time and if the amount involved is huge then the process can be more problematic. But if all the parties involved work together to make a positive solution then probate process can be competed easily and the property is distributed equally among the heirs or beneficiaries.

Luis Pezzini

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