Probate in California: An overview

In order to prevent any kind of property frauds after someone dies, it must go through probate. Probate can be defined as the official way in which a state gets settled under the supervision of the court. In case of the absence of a Will, the surviving spouse or an adult child is usually appointed by the court to settle the estate matters. And in case of a will, the nominated person gets hold of the property. This appointed person is called an executor or personal representative. He/she has the legal authority to gather all of the estate and value all the assets it owns, and also to distribute the assets to the heirs or beneficiaries.

The probate actually freezes the estate until the judge validates the Will, every relevant person is notified, and the property in the estate gets its identification and appraisal. Along with this, it is also seen if the creditors of the estate are paid off and the taxes are cleared off, before the court orders to distribute the property.

Common Assets that essentially go through Probate

Probate is essential in several cases of property, if:

  • The deceased person was the exclusive owner of the property. This will include, real estate, bank accounts, investment accounts, stocks, bonds, airplanes, business interests, any vehicle entitled solely to that person.
  • The deceased owns a shared property as “tenants in common”. For instance, the deceased person holds a share in a warehouse that his brother owns as an investment.
  • The assets owned by the deceased as a beneficiary of someone else’s property, also become a part of the probate property if the beneficiary dies before the owner. These assets often include medical savings accounts, life insurance policies, etc.

In case of this property, known as the probate estate, the executor of the will can open the case in the probate court and shepherd it to its conclusion. And in case of no will, the probate court will appoint an executor to proceed further.

Common Assets that pass without Probate

Assets or properties that do not require to pass through probate include:

  • The property or asset that the beneficiary although own in his/her name, but have a designation of payable on death (POD), transfer on death (TOD), or in trust for (ITF) will be avoiding probate. But, if all of the beneficiaries die before the property owner then the property has to go through a probate.
  • The property that you own with your spouse, siblings or others as joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWROS) will not be counted as a probate estate.
  • The property or assets that you own with your spouse jointly, recognized as tenants by the entirety is also avoided under probate. Every property or asset that does not exceed the small estate’s threshold will not require any probate.

Help4You offers the best legal document services in Orange County for settling an estate via probate. We have a team of professional paralegals that hold the expertise and experience. Therefore, they can carry on the procedure of probate quickly and easily.



Disclosure: We are not attorneys. We can only provide self-help services at your specific direction. Help4You Documents Services are owned / operated by legal document assistant, who are not lawyers, cannot represent customers, select legal forms or give advice on rights or laws. Services are provided at customers request and are not a substitute for advice of a lawyer. Prices do not include court costs.
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