Probate – We The People California – Legal Forms Online

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After an individual passes away, a personal representative (also known as an “executor”) is appointed to administer their estate. The process of transferring assets to beneficiaries and paying off existing debts is known as probate. Details can vary from state to state, as each has its own probate court, but the basic procedure is the same throughout the country.

First, in cases where the deceased has left a will, an executor is chosen to manage the granting of assets. Usually the executor is named in the will, but if not a representative is appointed by the surviving family members. In cases where the deceased does not leave a will, the state will determine how property will be distributed.

Next comes the filing of two important documents. The executor is certified to act on behalf of the deceased by Letters of Administration (also known as Letters Testamentary) issued by the probate court. The executor will then file a Petition for Probate of Will and Appointment of Personal Representative, which begins the probate process. If the deceased has left a will, the court “grants probate,” which simply means they’ve validated the authenticity of the will.

Once an executor is chosen or the state has begun the probate process, it is their duty to inform creditors, heirs and the general public of an individual’s death. The deceased person’s property will be inventoried and any outstanding taxes and/or debts will be paid.

Finally, assets are granted to heirs and beneficiaries. If a will exists for the decedent, the individual assets will be enumerated.

In addition to probate assets, there are non-probate assets that require no intermediary to grant. Such assets are jointly owned and automatically pass to the surviving owner. These include life insurance policies, revocable or irrevocable trusts, and bank and brokerage accounts that are “payable on death” or “jointly owned with right of survivorship.”

If you are currently going through the probate process or wish to prepare for an upcoming probate, We The People can help.  Contact us today in Long Beach (562) 285-0885 or Burbank (818) 848-4421.  We look forward to providing you with the absolute best in legal knowledge and support.