At Max Alavi, Attorney at Law, APC, we work closely with Probate Administrators to make sure that they meet their duties and that the estate moves through all the required steps as quickly as possible. We also talk to many people about the process of deciding on whether to engage an attorney for the probate or to try to go it alone. Of course, this is a challenging time on many levels, as most families are dealing with the emotional side of the passing of a loved one. No probate is exactly the same as another, but the average time from open to close of a probate in Los Angeles and Orange counties is one and a half years, assuming that everything is done correctly and the probate moves through without any mistakes by the administrator or attorney. That is why the choice of attorney who represents the estate is so important, even in cases that seem to be routine.
In California, when a person dies with assets that are not in a trust and the total value of the estate is greater than $150,000, then a full probate is required (otherwise a small estate probate may be sufficient). This is true even if the deceased had a will.
Probate is the legal process by which assets of a deceased are distributed to the beneficiaries or heirs. To begin this process, one must file a Petition for Probate in state court. Shortly after the petition is filed, the court will appoint a Probate Administrator, who is typically a relative or close friend of the deceased. The Administrator is basically the caretaker for the deceased’s property. Being appointed Administrator brings with it many duties and liabilities. Below is an overview of the most notable of these duties.
Inventory and Appraise Estate Property
The Administrator must locate and take possession of all property to be administered in the estate. Once the Administrator has rounded up all of the assets, the Administrator must then arrange for a court-appointed referee to determine the value of the property. After all of the property has been properly appraised, the Administrator then has to file an inventory with the court.
Notifying Creditors and Potential Heirs
An Administrator must also mail a notice of administration to every known creditor of the deceased and to publish a notice of the probate for the unknown creditors. This must happen within four months of being appointed.
Managing the Estate’s Assets
Until the court gives its blessing to distribute the property to the appropriate heirs or beneficiaries, the Administrator must take steps to ensure that the property in the estate is being properly maintained and preserved. This means that the Administrator must take care in managing investments, paying taxes, and maintaining proper insurance to protect the property. It is also extremely important to keep the estate property separate from your own, and never commingle your own funds with estate funds. Lastly, the Administrator must keep accurate records of all transactions pertaining to the estate property.
Probate is most often more complicated than it appears. Max Alavi, Attorney at Law, APC can make the Orange County or Los Angeles county probate process less stressful and more efficient. Give us a call today at 949-706-1919. We can help you navigate the process.
The purpose of this article is to provide a general overview of the probate process and is not specific legal advice. By viewing this blog, you understand that no attorney client relationship is being formed. If you are dealing with a probate matter, it is highly recommended that you contact an attorney.
Max Alavi focuses on assisting clients establish effective and secure vehicles for passing their assets to their loved ones and protecting their families from the uncertainty and expense associated with probate and testamentary guardianship matters. He is also dedicates a significant portion of his practice to complex probate matters, trust administration and litigation of contested trusts.
Max Alavi, Attorney at Law, APC has 6 locations in Orange County and Los Angeles County, California