Sacramento, CA Attorney Handling Probate Administration and Litigation
Estate planning attorney helping clients settle the estates of loved ones
Probate can be a long and complicated court proceeding, and trying to settle a loved one’s estate without legal assistance can be risky. There are important tax and legal matters to consider, and the wrong decisions may have lasting and negative consequences to your loved ones. At the Bedell Law Office, we assist clients with probate administration and litigation matters to help them settle the estate of a loved one. No matter how large the estate or contentious the will or trust disputes, estate planning attorney Jeffrey I. Bedell guides executors and administrators through California’s probate process.
What is the goal of the probate process?
Probate is the court-supervised process in which a person's property is gathered after they pass away, any debts are satisfied and the property is distributed to the person's heirs. If probate is necessary, the court appoints someone to oversee the settling of the estate. If you die with a will, the person you name in the will to handle your estate is called the executor. If you die without a will, the person the court appoints to handle your estate is called the administrator. By working with an estate planning attorney, you can save your heirs thousands of dollars in estate expenses and unnecessary delay.
In addition to resolving tax liabilities, the goals of the probate process include:
- Validation or invalidation of the will
- Identification and inventory of the deceased person's property
- Appraisal of the deceased’s property
- Payment of the deceased's remaining debts and taxes
- Distribution of the deceased's property
How does probate in California differ from other states?
Generally, probate is necessary in California if a person has more than $150,000 in assets when they die. These assets do not include property that passes to beneficiaries from a trust, retirement or 401(k) account, or life insurance. Assets can include property such as real estate, bank accounts and interests held in a business. California probate court allows the executor up to 30 days after the death to file the will, with creditors allowed up to four months to file claims. The estate can only be closed and the remainder distributed to heirs after all bills and taxes have been paid. The estimation for the average probate case, as put forth by the judicial branch of California, is nine to 18 months. From day one, the Bedell Law Office clarifies the responsibilities of executors and trustees and guides all parties through the entire probate process.
Do I need to hire an attorney for probate litigation?
During probate litigation, the contestation of a will is taken to probate court, wherein the court identifies the deceased person’s assets, decides how taxes and other estate expenses are paid and distributes the property according to the will. Probate litigation most commonly results from wills being contested on grounds such as:
- Claims of undue influence
- Undisclosed details about creditors
- Conflicting opinions regarding guardianships and conservatorships
Because probate litigation is complex and necessitates that all measures of diplomacy have failed, hiring an attorney is absolutely crucial. The Bedell Law Office also offers sound counsel to clients dealing with an estate plan after divorce.
Work with an experienced probate attorney — call us today
The Bedell Law Office handles all probate administration and litigation matters with the utmost professionalism. We diligently handle the complicated legal and tax matters that accompany probate. Call 916.473.1067 or contact us online for your free initial consultation. We price our services honestly and fairly, and always return phone calls and emails within 24 hours.