Trusts and Estates Blog

How Does the Probate Process Work?

gavelPreparing for death includes facing some difficult situations and preparing for what will come after you or a loved one is gone. One aspect of settling a deceased loved one’s estate is the probate process. Often plans are not made for the probate process, leaving the will executor or appointed executor lost and searching to learn more about the probate process. Below is a brief introduction to the probate process for those who are responsible for settling an estate.

After a loved one passes on, their estate is settled in probate court—whether they established a will or not. If they did establish a will, the named executor of the will handles the probate process. (Wills do not avoid probate!) If they did not establish a will, the court appoints an administrator handles the probate process.

The executor files papers in local probate court to legally prove the validity of the will. The executor will provide the court with proof of validity and presents a list of assets, properties, and the contents of the estate for the court. After the court approves the will, beneficiaries and creditors are notified of the deceased one’s death.

The probate process usually lasts a year to eighteen months during which time the will executor will control all assets of the will. Depending on the contents of the will or on debts owed, the executor may have to decide to sell certain assets to pay debts or to pay beneficiaries. For example, if you owe certain monies on a mortgage, bills, or other debts, pieces of your estate may have to be appraised and solid if your cash assets will not cover such debts. That decision is up to the executor.

In many states, immediate family members may request the courts to release funds to cover immediate debts and bills while the estate is being settled. Eventually, after the court settles the estate, the executor will be free to pay all outstanding debts, liquidate any assets and properties, and distribute the proceeds of the estate to the proper beneficiaries.

If you would like more information concerning estate planning, including how to avoid probate, contact Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson | Von Tungeln (TVT) at 661-945-5868 or visit their websites at www.EstatePlanningSpecialists.comwww.EstatePlanningSpecialists.com and www.Medi-CalHelp.com. www.EstatePlanningSpecialists.com is a comprehensive online resource for personal wealth management solutions through wills and revocable trusts. www.Medi-CalHelp.com is a comprehensive online resource for long term nursing home care for the middle class. As Board Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, partners Mark E. Thompson and Kevin L. Von Tungeln are expertly equipped to serve clients with the creative, effective and custom solutions they demand.

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