Probate Administration in the State of California

When a family member or close friend dies, it can be a very traumatic time.  The added responsibility of dealing with the person's creditors, collecting his or her assets, and navigating through the maze of tax and probate laws can be daunting and confusing.  The prospect of a court-supervised probate administration can seem overwhelming.  At the Snow Law Corp., we have extensive experience in probate administration, including probate of large and complex estates.

Executors and administrators of estates should be aware that they have fiduciary duties and obligations.  Failure to fulfill these duties could result in personal liability to the executor or administrator.  It is imperative to have the advice and representation of experienced legal counsel to avoid making costly mistakes.

What is Probate?

Probate is the process where a court oversees the administration of a deceased person's estate.  The purpose of the probate process is to ensure that any final bills and expenses are paid, including any taxes owed, and any remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries named in a will, if the decedent left a will, or if the decedent died "intestate", meaning without a will, in accordance with California's laws governing intestate succession.

Is Probate Required?

Probate is generally not required if the decedent:

  • Owned real property or personal property that will pass by right of survivorship to the spouse or other person named on the title.
  • The decedent owned life insurance or retirement benefit accounts, the disposition of which is controlled by the beneficiary designation.  However, if the decedent failed to name a beneficiary, or the named beneficiary is deceased and a contingent beneficiary is not indicated, probate may be necessary.

Probate is generally required if the decedent:

  • Owned an interest in real property titled solely in the decedent's name, the value of which exceeds $20,000.
  • Owned personal property titled solely in the decedent's name, and the gross value of the decedent's personal and real property located in the state of California exceed $100,000.  If the total value of the decedent's personal and real property located in the state do not exceed $100,000, the estate may be transferred by affidavit procedure if certain conditions are met.

Seek Experienced Legal Representation

Serving as the personal representative of a decedent's estate involves many fiduciary duties and responsibilities.  It is important to seek the guidance and representation of an experienced California probate attorney.  At the Snow Law Corp., we are here to competently represent you through the probate process.  In the event that a dispute arises, we have extensive experience in probate litigation and will aggressively assert your rights, while striving to shield you from the stress of the situation.  Contact the Snow Law Corp. by e-mail, or call us at (661) 877-4135 for a consultation.

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