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Understanding More About Will and Probate and How They Work Together

What happens to property when someone dies and they had a will?

Well, that depends on what their will says. Knowing what happens when there is a will and probate is needed is important for everyone involved.

A will guides what happens in probate court and what has to happen to property is also largely dependent on the way property is titled not just on what the will says. So getting an understanding of what to expect is important when entering probate. A lot of people think that just because the will appoints someone executor that means that they immediately have the ability to act on the estate. This is not true. You must be appointed by the court before you have the right to act if probate is required. In California if an estate is valued at over $150,000 it must go through probate. However, the way things are titled and if there are any pay on death accounts makes a large difference in what is included in the estate. Once the executor is appointed by the court then they have to begin the work of taking care of the estate.

The executor is then responsible for marshaling the person’s assets:

All the assets that were in their name (so they are going through probate), they have to pay off any debts that that person had so that we have some net value to the estate. And when that is done and the creditor’s claim period is closed, then the executor has to file a petition with the probate court, telling the court what assets were there, what debts have been paid (if there was anything that was paid), and ask both for their fees to be paid, their attorneys fees to be paid and the net amount to be distributed according to the terms of the will. This can be a long and hard task for some estates. We understand that it can be frustrating, overwhelming and exhausting on a good day. We are here to help you navigate through the process.

If you need to do a probate or have questions about completing a probate, do not hesitate to contact our office today or via phone at 888-443-6590.

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman


Attorney Scott Grossman is certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law. He represents clients in cases throughout California.

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