Probate Attorney in Arcadia

Hedtke Law Office in Arcadia CA takes the time to educate our clients on the advantages and options available with Probate, Probate Avoidance, Estate & Probate Administration, and the Estate Planning process.

probate attorney Arcadia CA

What is Probate?

Probate is a legal process that occurs after someone dies. It includes validating a will in court, identifying / inventorying / appraising the deceased person’s property, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining property as the will or law directs. Get a probate attorney Arcadia CA for a better solution.

Probate Avoidance

Probate is the court process by which a person’s last will and testament is administered, creditors are paid, and assets are finally distributed to the decedent’s named beneficiaries. If the decedent died without a will (“intestate”), statutes provide an order of preference for relatives of the decedent who will be considered the decedent’s beneficiaries. Most clients choose to avoid probate for the following reasons:

Expense Probates are expensive. Because the statutes set forth a structured sequence of events that must be completed before the estate can be settled, lawyers have little discretion as to how the proceeding should be conducted. Even the simplest probate proceedings can cost as much as $5,000. Complicated estates can cost in excess of $100,000. As a guideline, estates facing probate should assume 3% to 5% of the estate will be paid to attorneys in legal fees. This cost should be compared to the relatively small costs associated with establishing a revocable living trust. Our probate lawyer Arcadia CA can give you all these probate solutions.

Time Probates take a substantial amount of time to complete. In a best case scenario probate could take six months to complete. On average, we find the process usually takes between 9 and 12 months. Generally, access to assets during the pendency of a probate is substantially restricted, and all distributions require court approval. Conversely, successor trustees in a revocable trust have access to assets immediately upon the death of the decedent and can manage the assets without the necessity of court supervision.

Private Matter Most people do not realize that a probate proceeding is no different than any other civil proceeding in a court of law. At any time, anyone can request the court clerk to retrieve the probate file and inspect its contents. Documents included in the file are the will, a petition for probate listing all of the decedent’s heirs to the second degree, a complete inventory of all of the decedent’s assets, and documents bringing to the court’s attention any other matters that require court attention. Generally, clients prefer to use revocable living trusts to keep their affairs private.

Get a probate lawyer in Arcadia CA from Hedtke Law Group for a free consultation.

What happens if I die in California without a will?

Dying without a will is legally referred to as “dying intestate,” which means a person has died without a valid will. Long story short, your estate will be at the mercy of the courts who will divide your property according to California statutes. This may not be a problem if the statutes happen to match your own wishes, but that is a big IF.

What is power of attorney?

Power of attorney grants another party the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. This can be in the form of health care power of attorney or financial power of attorney, allowing a trusted individual to make decisions about your health or finances in the event you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to do so.

When does an estate have to go through probate court?

Probate often sounds like a big, scary and long process. However, at its core, it’s a simple process that consists of a judge giving the OK for assets to be legally passed to beneficiaries. Unless steps have been specifically taken to avoid going through probate — such as placing property in certain trusts — probate will be required before property can be passed on. This can come in the form of carrying out the provision of a will or probating the estate of someone who died intestate.

How long does probate take in California?

The timing varies significantly due to court schedules, unforeseen complications and other factors. However, probate will always require at least one court appearance before a judge. There are required notice periods for notifying creditors, beneficiaries and others who may be affected by the distribution of an estate’s assets. For example, creditors have four months to file claims with an estate administrator or probate court after receiving notice. Long story short, most estates can be fully probated within six months to a year. The presence of debt can significantly increase that timeline.

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