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Wills: A guide to probate and public record

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2023 | Wills

A will is a legal document that outlines the distribution of assets and the care of minor children after the death of a person. It is an essential tool for estate planning in California, and beneficiaries need to understand the probate process and the public record of wills.

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process of validating and administering wills. It is the process of proving that a will is valid and that the deceased person’s assets are distributed according to the instructions outlined in the will. This process can be time-consuming and costly, but it is necessary to ensure that the deceased person’s wishes are fulfilled.

When a person dies

When a person dies, their will must be filed with the probate court in the county where they lived. The probate court will then appoint an executor, who is responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will and distributing the assets according to the instructions. The executor must also notify creditors and pay outstanding debts before distributing the assets.

How long does the probate process take?

The probate process can take anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on the complexity of the estate and any disputes that may arise. It’s important to note that the probate process is public, meaning anyone can access the will and other probate records.

This is where the public record comes in, as the wills are part of the public record, which means they are available for anyone to access. This includes any assets, debts and beneficiaries listed in the will. This transparency can be important for preventing fraud or undue influence in the administration of the will.

Understanding probate and public record

A will is a useful legal document that outlines the distribution of assets and the care of minors after the death of a parent. Probate constitutes the legal process of validating and administering a will. While a loved one’s death is sad and unfortunate, understanding the probate process can help you best tend to their last testament.


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