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By: Scott Grossman on May 31st, 2018

Will and Probate: Understanding 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 the property is also largely dependent on the way property is titled not just on what the will says. Understanding 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 can 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 handling the person’s assets:

All the assets that were in their name, 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 are ready to start your case, then please give us a call or fill out our Get Help Now form. A comprehensive overview of California Probate is available here. Should you have additional questions about trust litigation, you will find plenty of useful information in our Learning Center.