925.244.1185
San Ramon, CA

Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What to Expect During the Probate Process

During probate, a court supervises the work of gathering a deceased person’s assets and distributing them, whether to pay off creditors or to give heirs the parts of the estate designated for them in the deceased person’s will (or designated by state law if the person died without a will).

Every probate court has a detailed set of rules for the probate process. These include rules about what documents must be filed, what information must be included in those documents, and which deadlines must be met. Many states use part or all of the Uniform Probate Code (UPC), a set of model probate laws created by a team of experts in the process.

A good attorney can help you avoid probate, or at least a long, drawn-out probate process. In the meantime, read more on what to expect during the probate process.

  1. The executor or personal representative must be approved by the court.

    Most wills name an “executor” or “personal representative” to manage the affairs of the estate. The first thing the executor must do is to be formally recognized as executor by the court. Often, this process is part of opening the probate estate by filing a petition to open the estate with the probate court. Your local probate court will have forms to use, or you can speak to an attorney who can prepare and file these forms correctly.
  2. The executor’s “to do” list is subject to strict deadlines

    • The executor must communicate with the court to ensure deadlines are met. Typical tasks on an executor’s communication to-do list include:
      Filing the death certificate and original copy of the will with the probate court.

    • Publishing a notice of probate according to court rules. These may require publication in a newspaper, mailing notice to creditors, and similar tasks.

    • Mail notice of probate to the estate’s beneficiaries and heirs.

    • Post a bond to protect the estate from losses, as required by the court.

    • Prove the validity of the will, if one exists. Some wills include a “self-proving affidavit,” or you may need to gather statements from the witnesses to the will’s signing.

    • Promptly file any other information required by the court.
      At every stage, the court will set deadlines on information and filings. Adhering to these deadlines (or making prompt requests for extensions) is essential. An attorney can help.

  3. Most questions that arise will have to do with the property.

    The executor’s job is to safeguard the estate’s property against loss until its final debts can be paid and the remaining assets distributed according to the terms of the estate plan or state law. In addition, the executor will need to field questions from heirs and beneficiaries.
    Every state gives potential beneficiaries the chance to challenge the will if they believe it was made under duress or otherwise fails as a valid will. If a challenge occurs, the executor will need to be prepared to defend the will. An attorney’s help is valuable here as well.

Probate is a legal process. As a result, it is worthwhile to consult an attorney, whether you are responsible for executing the instructions in an estate plan or you are creating an estate plan to dictate what should happen to your own property after your death. Talk to the professional elder law attorneys at Horizonlaw today by calling 925.275.5509.



Archived Posts

2019
2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2016
2015



© 2019 Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning, Inc. | Disclaimer
2333 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Ste. 145, San Ramon, CA 94583
| Phone: (925) 244-1185

Elder Law | Estate Planning | About

Law Firm Website Design by
Amicus Creative