Probate begins with filing and validating the decedent's will

Being in the position to handle a person’s final affairs can be rewarding and challenging. Some California residents may be happy to act as a loved one’s executor in order to close the estate and ensure that the person’s final wishes are carried out. Of course, the probate process also involves taking various legal steps, starting with filing the will with the court.

Filing the will and having it validated by the court begins the legal process of settling the estate. The executor will need to locate the document, take it to the appropriate court and file a petition to open probate. The court may also need a death certificate or other documentation before starting the process. A hearing will likely take place to ensure that the will is valid, and this step can include allowing heirs and beneficiaries to review the document and raise any concerns they may have about its validity.

Parties who witnessed the signing of the will and any other documentation that can speak to the validity of the document may also play a part in the validation process. Once the document is deemed valid, the executor will obtain letters of administration. These allow him or her to move forward with closing the estate and have the authority to handle necessary duties associated with probate.

California law may have other specific requirements that an executor needs to follow in order to file a will and start the probate process. As a result, it is vital that the person in line to take on this role understands what he or she needs to do. Fortunately, individuals can work with experienced attorneys who can help at every stage of the estate closing process.

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