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By: Scott Grossman on August 5th, 2016

What is probate?

Probate is a court-supervised proceeding in California to transfer ownership of the assets of the decedent to his or her heirs or beneficiaries.  Heirs inherit if there is no will. Beneficiaries inherit if there is a will. In other words, you need a court order to transfer whatever property your loved one owned out of your loved one’s name, and into the name of whoever is supposed to inherit the property.

The way you know whether you have to probate or not does not depend simply on whether your loved one had a trust or a will. You know you have to if you need your deceased loved ones’ signature in order to transfer their property. Let me give you an example: If your mother died and she owned her home in her own name, then you would have to put her home through probate in order to transfer it. Another example would be where your father had a bank account or a brokerage account in his name alone. If your father did not designate a beneficiary for the account, then the account will have to go through probate so that the bank or the brokerage would know where the funds go.

The probate of the estate must take place in the county in which the decedent resided at the time he or she died.  For example, if Mary lived in Ontario, California then the probate of her estate will occur in San Bernardino County. San Bernardino County’s probate court is in Redlands so the probate will take place at the Redlands court.

If you are ready to start your case, then please give us a call or fill out our Get Help Now form.  If you want a comprehensive overview of California Probate, then click here. Should you have additional questions about trust litigation, then you will find plenty of useful information in our Learning Center.