At Orange County Probate–
“Our goal is to get you through the Probate process as quickly and trouble-free as possible. And we usually never have to take the client into court.”
Somebody passed away leaving property that isn’t in a trust…Next stop is probably Probate Court.
What is Probate? Probate is a pretty long and complicated court process. It requires filing many different Petitions and forms…some required by the State, some required by Local Rules of the County Superior Court. There are issues with Public Legal Notification, formal mailings to heirs and government agencies, probate “notes,” bonds, inventories by probate “referees,” selling property, dealing with estate creditors and distributions…All this is why most people should hire an experienced Probate Attorney. We can take the mystery and fear out of the process for you.
There’s a Will…what happens now?
If you were named as the Executor in the Will, you need to file a Petition for Probate now (that’s the law).
Except for one or two very limited exceptions, just being named as Executor in a Will does NOT grant you legal authority to do anything. The Court must make an order naming you as the Executor or Administrator and issue what is called Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. That requires a Probate proceeding. In most cases, the cost of an attorney is paid by the estate at the end of the probate process.
If the named Executor can no longer serve due to death, incapacity or just declines to serve, you may be entitled to Petition the Court to be named Administrator of the Estate. Let’s find out if we can make that happen for you– Call or email us today for a free consultation.
There’s NO Will, what happens now?
If there is property (above a certain dollar value), there must be a Probate. If you are closely related to the “decedent” you may be in a position to be named the Administrator of the Estate. The Probate Code sets out in detail what person has what priority to be named. If you have priority, we can Petition on your behalf and usually our attorney fees are paid by the estate at the end of the probate process. The sooner we begin, the sooner the process can finish for you– Call or email us today for a free consultation.
I think a BOND is going to be required and I can’t qualify (perhaps a credit rating issue). Can I nominate somebody else, even an attorney to serve as the Personal Representative?
Yes, you can and either we can represent that person you want to nominate (assuming no conflict of interest) or on occasion one of our attorneys serves as the Personal Representative. Call or email us today for a free consultation.
“Usually the longer you wait to get started, the more difficult the probate process gets…”
OTHER COMMON PROBATE ISSUES AND QUESTIONS:
A stranger was named in a new Will!
If the Will names a beneficiary that was the decedent’s “caregiver,” nurse, or a brand new “friend,” the family is protected by the Probate Code. To find out if we can fix this for you– Call or email us today for a free consultation.
In that case, how would we pay the attorney fees?
That circumstance may include other payment options for you– Call or email us today to discuss those options.
Is Probate expensive?
Yes, it is expensive (that’s why we recommend Estate Planning). The good news is that if the estate has assets, many of these costs (like attorney fees) don’t have to be paid until the end of Probate. However, there are COURT REQUIRED filing fees, legal publication fees, and sometimes bond premiums that must be paid at the beginning of the process. You may have to pay these out of pocket or there may be other options. To get the details– Call or email us today for a free consultation.
Is it true that the Estate Executor/Administrator is entitled to fees?
Yes, the Probate Code states that the Estate Administrator/Executor is generally entitled to the same fees as their attorney. It is based upon a sliding scale according to the fair market gross value of the estate and is found in the California Probate Code at §10800 and following. The Administrator will earn their fees, but having an experienced Probate Attorney makes all the difference. But, there is a circumstance where the Administrator/Executor would want to waive their fees. Schedule a free consultation to find out why.
I’m an heir or beneficiary (not the Executor), should I hire an attorney?
Some people do. They hire us on an hourly basis usually to review documents and procedures that occur and explain things to them along the way. But if you are actually anticipating a problem, don’t hesitate. Problems in Probate rarely get better by ignoring them! Call or email us today for a free consultation.
The house was in the trust but they refinanced and the owner died and we found out that it never got deeded back in. Is there anything other than a full-blown probate that we can do? I looked online and read about a Heggstad Petition?
If the trust specifically names the property, we may be able to file a petition that streamlines the procedure. Call or email us today for a free consultation..
If the decedent left a bank account or other property with no beneficiary named and no full probate procedure is required for some other reason, we can prepare the document you need to claim that property. Call or email us today for a free consultation.
Are Statutory Fees the only way to pay the attorney?
No, sometimes there can be other options. Call or email us today for a free consultation.
The Decedent died owing me money or a contract obligation, can the Attorneys of OrangeCountyProbate help with that?
Yes. Depending upon the circumstances, one of two different procedures need to be followed. We can represent you, prepare and file the documents. There are specific time limits so do not delay contacting us.
I was left out of the Will. Is there anything I can do?
Maybe yes. In a few certain limited circumstances and if we have very good and convincing evidence for your claim, we can file a Petition during probate and restore your property rights. But remember two things, there are time limits to make your claim and your evidence must be very good in the eyes of the judge. Call or email us today for a free consultation to see what we can do for you.
“Twenty years of probate experience makes a big difference for the client…”
“Problems in Probate rarely get better by ignoring them!”