Understanding the Probate Process
The probate process can be a long and expensive ordeal so it’s imperative that you have a
general understanding of what transpires during the process.
First, understand that a set of statutes and court rules govern the procedure. These statutes
and rules provide in-depth instructions on how to proceed at each step of the process.
Second, understand that the first place in which the will of the decedent should be probated is
the jurisdiction where he or she lived when they died; this is called the “primary jurisdiction.” If
the decedent had real property in another jurisdiction, there may need to be another
administration which occurs there that will be ancillary to the administration in the primary
Third, notices must be sent out by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate to
people having an interest in the estate, including beneficiaries designated in a will and the legal
heirs of the decedent. If no one contests the will then, generally, it will be admitted to probate.
If someone does wish to contest probate of the will the statute of the jurisdiction will specify
the time by which it must be contested. In California, it is generally four months.
Fourth, if the estate has creditors then those creditors must file a claim within the time
specified within that state statute. Failure to so file means that the claim will most likely be
barred. However, proper notice must have been given to the creditor to bar the claim. If there
are debts owed to creditors then those claims will be paid out of the estate’s assets, and, if
necessary, the administrator of the estate will liquidate assets in order to pay those debts.
The probate process is a legally complex one which the executor must perform competently.
When the proper procedures are not followed and, as a result, the interests of the beneficiaries
have been damaged, the executor may be liable for those losses. The best way for an executor
to ensure that the probate process is properly handled is to work with a local,experienced and
qualified probate attorney .
Experienced estate planning attorneys Sacramento CA of the Northern California Estate
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