Probate, in short, is the court process that changes the title of property from the deceased person to their heirs. If an individual dies in Orange County California — including Anaheim, Brea, Placentia, Yorba Linda, the City of Orange, Garden Grove or Fullerton — owning property titled in his or her own name exclusively, the probate court will allow the beneficiaries or heirs to change title. Then the property can either be sold, or remain in the ownership of the heirs.
Typically an individual is appointed as the personal representative – executor or administrator – of the probate estate. If a Will exists it usually names who the decedent chose as his or her executor or administrator. This is the person responsible to the Court for the entire administration of the probate. The duties include:
- Gathering the assets of the decedent
- Appling for a tax payer ID number for the estate and ensure all tax filings are completed
- Completing and filing an inventory and appraisal of property and assets of the decedent
- Accepting and/or disputing any creditor claims
- Paying any outstanding bills of the decedent
- Preparation of an accounting of the property and expenses of the estate
- Requesting the Court authorize a distribution and close the estate.
Probate can be a complex and time consuming process, especially if you are not familiar with the California Probate Rules and the Local Rules of Court. The quickest probate would be about a year. The average is about 18 months. An experienced attorney representing you can greatly impact the number of months or years the probate process can take, and assist you in navigating the Court system.
If you are looking for an experienced probate attorney, please contact the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker, P.C.