WHAT IS THE PROBATE PROCESS?
Probate is a court procedure whereby the assets of someone who has died or is unable to manage his or her own assets are taken charge of by a representative appointed by the court. During that process the representative manages those assets in a similar manner that the person or estate did and makes certain that those assets are properly secured, invested and paid out. The probate court, sometimes called the surrogate court in certain states, oversees this process and confirms that the representative is properly handling the assets of the estate.
An Estate is the entity created under the court proceeding that represents the bundle of assets being administered by the court appointed representative. These assets can be cash, real property, personal property or a variety of other valuable items. The court appointed representative is often a family member but can sometimes be a professional fiduciary who primarily spends his or her time managing assets for those who are unable to manage their own affairs.
The types of estates that the probate court oversees are estates of a decedent, estates under a conservatorship or guardianship or estates of a trust entity.
Generally, in California, the probate process for a decedent’s estate requires a minimum of six months to complete. This is due to the fact that there is a four month period after the representative is appointed for creditors to file claims with the court for money that the decedent owed to them on the date of death.
Often the probate process is thrust upon the survivors of a deceased person because there was little advanced planning by that person in the event of death. Assets need to be managed and bills need to be paid and loved ones surviving the decedent often do not have access to the decedent’s bank and other accounts to handle these issues. The probate process is complicated and it is advisable to retain the services of an experienced probate attorney to assist in handling this process. The probate lawyer will help make the process progress smoothly and will ease the obligations of the representative. Legal representation from Scott I. Bassin, A Professional Corporation will help in the difficult times following the death of a loved one.
The costs associated with the probate process are generally paid out of the assets from the decedent’s, conservatee’s or ward’s estate. The personal representative for the estate is also entitled to receive compensation for his or her services to the estate.
If you are facing a situation such as those outlined above, you should call the law office (415) 753-5245, for assistance with these challenges.