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Wills, Estates and Probate
Losing a loved one is a sad and difficult time for the family. In addition, those left behind must often figure out how to transfer or inherit property from the person who has passed.
To do this, you must usually go to court. Dealing with the courts and the property of someone who has passed is very complicated. Sometimes it can be done without going to court. Here is some helpful terminology.
What is Probate: Probate means that there is a court case that deals with transferring of property, deciding if a will is valid and taking care of the financial responsibilities of the person that passed. An executor (if there is a will) or an administrator (no will) is appointed by the court. The entire case can take between 9 months to 18 months or longer.
Type of Title Ownership: Sometimes property passed directly to the beneficiaries if the property is owned in Joint Tenancy or Community Property with right of survivorship. Sometimes all or some of a deceased person’s property does not need to go through probate to pass to beneficiaries.
If the estate is worth less than $150,000, you may not have to go to court. You can use a form called Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property. You have to file a petition with the court and obtain and file an Inventory and Appraisal form.
If you were married to or were a registered domestic partner of the deceased, you can fill out a simple form called a Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Petition.
If the estate is worth more than $150,000 including real and personal property, life insurance benefits and retirement benefits, you must go to court and start a probate case. Within 30 days of the person’s passing, the custodian of the will must contact the Superior Court or risk being sued for damages caused. After a case is filed, the probate clerk sets a hearing date. A final income tax return must be filed as well as a lot of additional paperwork.
A lot of hardship can be avoided if a Living Trust is made especially if there is real property such as a home or commercial property involved. Anyone needing advice should contact an Attorney.
Feel free to call me for a referral for great service providers. If you have a friend or relative or know someone who does, fell free to call me at 818 262-0924 with their name and number and I will be happy to assist them and save them time and money.