What is a probate lawyer?
A probate lawyer assists executors and administrators in properly administering a probate estate. During probate, the executor or administrator is likely to have questions for their probate lawyer and require guidance on taking possession and control of estate property, the proper management of estate estates, identifying potential creditors of the estate, correctly paying estate expenses, and correctly selling or disposing of estate assets when needed.
That will include filing the petition for probate, and all the associated court-required forms, sending creditors claim notices, preparing an inventory and appraisal for the estate, and petitioning the court to close the estate.
A probate lawyer guides the executor of the will or beneficiaries of an estate through the probate process. That means anything from identifying estate assets and beneficiaries to distributing assets and inheritances.
What does a probate lawyer do?
Specifically, here are some of the everyday tasks a probate lawyer may assist an executor and beneficiaries with during the probate process:
- Collecting proceeds from life insurance policies
- Identifying and securing estate assets
- Obtaining appraisals for the decedent’s real property
- Assisting in the payment of bills and debts
- Drafting, prepping, and filing all documents required by a probate court
- Determining if any estate or inheritance taxes are due and making sure those debts are satisfied
- Resolving income tax issues
- Managing the estate checking account
- Transferring assets in the decedent’s name to the appropriate beneficiaries
- Making a final disbursement of assets to beneficiaries after paying all bills and taxes
So does my property have to go through probate?
Not all of a decedent’s assets go through the California probate process. The probate process may be unnecessary if the deceased had no titled assets. The California Probate Code provides that estates of $184,500 or less do not need to go through the probate process.
Is probate the right step for you?
If you need more guidance in the probate process, check out our Overview of the California Probate process.
Probate is necessary when the property cannot be transferred from the deceased person to a living person because the title is in the person’s name who passed. If you don’t have another way of getting ownership of your deceased loved one’s property, then probate is very likely necessary. Remember, nothing will happen on its own. You have to start the process.
If your case is in the state of California and you’d like an honest evaluation, then give us a call or fill out our contact form.