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PROBATE LAWYER IN BREA, CALIFORNIA

The probate process is a common type of court proceeding that will affect most California residents after the death of a loved one. Assessing the deceased person’s assets, distributing assets properly, dealing with creditors, and making sure all debts are paid before the estate closes are essential matters accomplished with the help of probate court. To ensure the probate process goes smoothly, it is essential to secure the services of a probate lawyer skilled at navigating the various legal matters that can arise. The probate process can be long and complicated, and hiring an experienced Brea probate attorney can ensure the court settles the estate both accurately and efficiently.

WHAT IS A PROBATE LAWYER?

A probate lawyer is a type of attorney that handles legal and financial matters dealing with the estates of deceased persons. Probate lawyers may represent beneficiaries, executors, or other parties in estate administration proceedings, which can include proving wills, contesting wills, and appeals to orders made by an executor. These lawyers may also specialize in tax issues affecting estates and trusts.

Probate lawyers can address many important aspects of probate litigation, including:

  • Assessing the appointed administrator or executor
  • Establishing an estate’s financial accounts to enable distribution
  • Filing tax returns for the estate
  • Transferring ownership of a deceased person’s real estate and other assets
  • Settling disputes about the will’s validity by providing legal counsel

Overall, probate lawyers must be familiar with the rules governing probate proceedings and tax laws that affect transfers of property and other assets. With this knowledge, a Brea probate lawyer can effectively represent clients and respect the wishes of the deceased.

UNDERSTANDING THE PROBATE PROCESS

The probate process enables and accelerates the distribution of assets after a person (known as the decedent) has passed away. This process begins with a 30-day period after the decedent’s death to allow for filing a will, naming an executor, and determining the validity of the will via an affidavit or witness testimony. The executor is either indicated in the decedent’s will or appointed by the court, and the court will hold a hearing to allow interested parties to object to the named executor. If approved, the executor is responsible for notifying creditors and the public of the decedent’s death, using the estate’s assets to pay off debts and taxes before attempting to distribute the remaining assets according to the terms of the will.

The probate process takes an average of nine months since the IRS and other creditors have an allotted amount of time to pursue debts from the estate. The estate can only become officially closed when the executor has ensured all debts have been paid and distributed all assets. Disputes regarding the validity of the will, the executors involved, or the assets distributed among family members can further lengthen the probate process. Thus, it is critical to secure the services of a knowledgeable probate lawyer familiar with navigating these legal nuances.

WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSIDER A PROBATE LAWYER?

Probate lawyers are skilled in family law and have spent extensive time learning the complexities of probate court. With the help of a probate lawyer, individuals can identify assets, arrange accurate appraisals of real estate and other property, secure the appropriate executor for an estate, and validate the last will and testament of the decedent. Probate lawyers can then manage the payment of debts, income taxes and estate taxes, distribute assets to heirs, or even help request relief from creditors.

In addition to validating and administering a will, a Brea probate attorney can help you navigate these probate issues:

  • Executor and co-executor disputes. If you suspect an executor or co-executors of an estate are taking actions contrary to the wishes of the decedent, a probate attorney can help. Probate attorneys have the tools necessary to assess whether the court should review or revoke the authority of the executor.
  • Family disputes. A probate lawyer can help settle disputes between family members and ensure that the terms of the will are enforced. If you must contest your loved one’s will, a probate attorney can help you navigate this complex process and ensure your interests are protected.
  • Complex estates or excessive debts. A probate lawyer can assess the debts that must be repaid before the distribution of property. Brea probate attorneys can also ensure tax considerations are properly addressed before administration of the will.

As you can see, there are many probate situations that may require the filing of additional probate petitions. This process is best completed with the help of a Brea probate lawyer.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PROBATE ATTORNEY AND AN ESTATE ATTORNEY?

Many probate lawyers are also skilled estate attorneys. However, there are a few differences between the two practice areas. An estate lawyer can help an individual create wills, trusts, or other documents to dictate the distribution of assets after their death. In addition, an estate lawyer can oversee other estate planning priorities such as establishing powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and more.

A dedicated probate lawyer is concerned explicitly with probating a will. A probate lawyer can ensure the proper legal documents are filed before each deadline. A probate lawyer can also navigate complex probate litigation to resolve disputes, ensure estate debts are fully paid, and oversee asset distribution according to the terms of the will.

CHILD GUARDIANSHIP AND PROBATE COURT

If a parent or legal guardian passes away, both probate court and family court may be involved with determining guardianship. With a petition, the court can assign probate guardianship for children, the child’s inherited assets from the parent’s estate, or both.

California child custody determinations revolve around the best interests of the child while also considering the fact that any surviving parent has a right to their child. When determining the child’s best interests, the court will consider aspects like the school the child currently attends, who will provide the best financial, emotional, and physical care, and even the child’s wishes if they are old enough to make this decision. A Brea pestate planning lawyer attorney can ensure all involved pursue the child’s best interests and protect any assets involved.

HOW MUCH DOES A TYPICAL PROBATE LAWYER COST?

While probate attorneys in other states may bill by the hour, California probate attorneys are authorized by California statute to assess fees based on the value of the estate. For that reason, there is no average cost for a Brea probate lawyer, as the cost will depend on the size of the estate in question.

So, what percentage does a probate lawyer get? Law dictates that the estate must pay 4% of the first $100,000 of the estate’s value, 3% of the following $100,000, 2% of the following $800,000, then 1% of the next $9 million and ½% of the remaining estate. Keep in mind that these calculations also apply to the executor’s fee as well.

CONTACT OUR LAW FIRM FOR A SKILLED BREA PROBATE ATTORNEY

Probate proceedings are a common occurrence but can quickly become stressful—especially for executors and families experiencing the loss of a loved one. To ensure the California probate process protects your best interests, it is essential to secure the services of a reputable probate attorney. For skilled representation, contact us at the Law Offices of Christopher P. Walker and schedule a personal consultation today.

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