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Palm Springs, CA Probate Attorneys

Experienced Probate Lawyers at Desert Law Group

When you need an experienced probate attorney you can trust in Palm Springs, CA, contact Desert Law Group. Probate is the legal process of selling an estate. When an estate goes through probate, the court system will oversee the distribution of assets to heirs. The courts also ensure all of the deceased’s debts are paid off. If a will is involved, your property is distributed as specified by that document. If you do not have a will, the court will follow state law to settle your estate. The probate process can also be used to challenge a will. The team of attorneys at Desert Law Group is here to help you work through the intricacies of probate.

How the Probate Process Works

​Despite what you may think, probate is not always a long, expensive process. Probate can be relatively fast and inexpensive, especially when your assets are under $100,000, and there is no real property in the estate and no claim by Medi-Cal, or when a surviving spouse inherits all assets and there are no child beneficiaries. In other cases, probate can be a lengthy process, averaging 16 months, depending on the complexity of the estate. Extremely complicated estates may result in years of probate. In the State of California, probate cannot be avoided. Even if there is a valid will, the estate will be subject to probate. Costs associated with probate include attorney’s fees, filing fees, and other charges, such as a bond premium. The basic process of probate consists of the following steps:

  • Filing a petition with the correct probate court
  • Giving notice to heirs under the will, or to statutory heirs if no will exists
  • Petitioning the court to appoint an administrator or executor for the estate
  • Taking inventory of your assets and having an appraisal performed
  • Paying off all legitimate estate debts
  • Selling estate assets if necessary
  • Paying remaining taxes owed by the estate
  • Distributing remaining assets to heirs as directed

Probate FAQ

Probate is complicated, but our experienced attorneys know the ins and outs of probate law and have compiled some answers to your most frequently asked questions:

What is probate?

Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone dies. Probate ensures that someone’s property and possessions are given to the correct people. The process also takes care of paying any taxes or debts that are owed. If the deceased had a will, the court will check that will to ensure it is valid and then make sure all the will’s directions are carried out.

What happens if I die without a will or trust?

If you die without a will, your assets will be frozen until the court system examines every detail of the estate. The State of California then applies its intestacy laws and makes decisions regarding where your possessions will be allocated. This process is quite time consuming but is easily avoided by merely having a will in place.

How much does it cost to probate an estate?

The costs will vary depending on how complicated your case is. In most cases, you can count on your estate paying somewhere between four and seven percent, including court fees, executor fees, attorney’s fees, accounting fees, appraisals, and business valuation fees, bond fees, and miscellaneous fees.

What happens during probate?

During probate, a person is nominated in the will to be the executor. That person files a petition to ask that they be appointed as the executor of the estate. In the case of no will, a list of persons who have priority to petition to become executor is provided by the probate code. Notices are sent to the heirs and relatives of the deceased to let them know when the hearing will take place. Any objections to the petition or contests of the validity of the will are heard and resolved. The executor will make an inventory of the estate’s assets, locating creditors, pay bills, file tax returns, and more. Several petitions are filed throughout this process, and the estate administration is eventually completed by the distribution of assets to the heirs and filing final tax returns.

What is unique about California’s probate law?

Every state has different laws as they relate to probate and estates. In California, everyone has an estate. If the deceased’s assets are only in their name, probate will be required. In the State of California, not all wills have to go through the full probate process because the law features several different probate processes. Full-probate will be necessary for large estates with complex assets, such as those with properties or bank accounts held outside of the country. If someone dies without a will in California, the legal term is dying intestate. When that occurs, that person’s assets will be distributed according to California laws. The deceased’s assets will be distributed to surviving relatives in a specific order determined by the state. A surviving spouse would inherit one-half of the deceased’s community property as well as one-half or one-third of the separate property based on whether any children were left behind.

Probate Services from Desert Law Group

The best way to facilitate the probate process is to have a will drawn up. Desert Law Group’s probate services include the drafting of last wills and testaments, estate plans, and trusts. We also offer legal representation for families going through the probate process, helping them understand the process, handling much of the paperwork, and explaining their options. Probate can be a very lengthy and complicated process, but you do not have to manage it on your own. The estate planning attorneys at Desert Law Group can facilitate the process for you, ensuring all of your legal obligations are met, and you are not unnecessarily stressed by the process. Early planning is key to avoiding a messy probate process. It is crucial to create a will or establish a trust before losing mental capacity or passing away. To learn more about our probate services in Palm Springs, CA contact our office.

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