Estate planning in California can seem like a large, complicated process that is filled with unfamiliar terms. Words like power of attorney, wills, executors, trusts and probate can sound intimidating if one doesn’t understand what they mean. Perhaps one of the less understood terms is probate.
Probate is the process by which a will is proven to be legitimate and valid. The steps needed and the process taken to make that determination depend to a large extent on the size and complexity of the estate of the deceased. Typically, a person, often a family member, will be named as executor of the deceased’s will. If one is not familiar with the role or its responsibilities, one may have many questions.
Does a will need to go through probate? If the executor lives in a different location, will one need to travel in order for probate to go forward? If a decedent had property in his or her name alone, probate may be required. Most insurance policies, retirement funds and other assets will have beneficiaries assigned, so it may not necessarily be required. If a person who is administering the estate is located in a different venue, much of the work can often be done remotely.
A person in California who is named executor of an estate might benefit from consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney. An estate may appear to be simple and straightforward, but unanticipated eventualities with probate may occur. A knowledgeable attorney can review the estate and may be able to help and advise with any unforeseen situations.