925.244.1185
San Ramon, CA

Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

How a Lawyer Can Help Resolve California Probate Complications

If you have a well-crafted estate plan set up and the executor of your will or trustee of your trust agreement works with a lawyer when handling your estate after you die, you can avoid many of the problems that can arise with California probate law. A California estate planning attorney can perform both functions, drafting your documents and administering your estate.

How an Attorney Can Help You Avoid Probate Problems

People who die without a valid will or trust are “intestate.” Their assets and debts will have to go through the probate courts. There will be less money to distribute to the heirs and beneficiaries at the end of the case because probating an intestate estate is typically more expensive than executing a will or trust.

It is much easier and less costly to set up a proper estate plan. Doing so will help you avoid probate complications and unnecessary expenses for your estate. Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Factors That Can Complicate the Probate Process in California

Probating an estate without an attorney, even if there is a will or trust, can quickly become overwhelming. Here are some of the things that can make you want to run to a lawyer for help:

  • Someone contests the will or trust. A will contest can involve lengthy, costly litigation that delays distributions of assets to the heirs. Also, if the judge finds the will or trust to be invalid, the estate might become intestate.
  • There is more than one will or trust. The judge will have to decide which document is valid.
  • Estate assets, like investments or an ongoing business, need financial management while the estate gets probated.
  • One or more of the beneficiaries already died or cannot be located.
  • A high-value estate most likely has multiple types of assets, including real estate.
  • Some of the assets are not located in California.
  • Some assets need to get appraised and sold.
  • Different kinds of assets can create different tax consequences for the estate and beneficiaries.
  • Some of the items in the will or trust have conflicting beneficiary designations. For example, a life insurance policy lists a relative as the beneficiary, but the will or trust gives the life insurance proceeds to a charitable organization.

An attorney can help you navigate challenging situations like these.

What Can Go Wrong When You Try to Probate an Estate Without a Lawyer

California probate courts have numerous rules you must follow when probating an estate. If you take these rules lightly, you could become personally liable for the consequences.

It is inconvenient to have to file an inventory, provide notice to creditors, attend hearings at court, and wait for many months to get permission to distribute assets to the beneficiaries. When your close loved one dies, you might have many things that you have to do. The probate rules can feel like a hindrance to getting on with your life.

Working with a California estate planning attorney can take many of these burdens off of your shoulders. Contact us today to learn more.


Archived Posts

2021
2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
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



© 2021 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