There are many changes to confront after the loss of a loved one. In addition to the emotional effects, there are also important legal matters to handle in estate administration. For instance, the estate might go through probate, the court process in which property is transferred to others. Probate involves assessing and distributing the deceased’s assets, proving the validity of wills, and addressing any outstanding debts.
Not all estates go through probate in California, but when they do, they can be complicated and draining. Disputes and confusion may arise, and you shouldn’t have to handle these alone. Having a skilled Orange County probate lawyer by your side can make all the difference and can help keep probate litigation running smoothly. At the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker, our experienced team can support you every step of the way so that the probate process goes as well as possible.
Probate is the court-supervised process of transferring a person’s property. It begins with filing the deceased individual’s will. Then, an executor, who is often already named in the deceased person’s last will and testament, will be officially appointed. The executor will then alert creditors to the death, handle paying any outstanding debts with the estates’ assets, and oversee the distribution of remaining assets.
While this may seem straightforward, each person’s estate is unique, and many probate processes involve complications or disputes that require legal intervention. For instance, family members may fight about who is the rightful heir of certain assets or the value of assets in the estate, the validity of creditors’ claims might be disputed, and the validity of the will itself might be called into question. Contacting a knowledgeable probate lawyer to address the legal aspects of probate can help untangle such complexities. It is this lawyer’s job to ensure efficient probate administration and provide you peace of mind during this long, often overwhelming process.
A probate lawyer is an attorney who addresses all of the complex matters of probate litigation. Many are also estate planning attorneys, but a probate attorney and an estate planning attorney are not exactly the same. An estate planning attorney can help individuals create wills and trusts so that they can strategically decide how they want their assets to be distributed after they pass on. If a person used an estate planning attorney to draw up a will, it can often help avoid disputes about a will’s validity in probate. Estate planning attorneys can also arrange property appraisals, draw healthcare directives that appoint a trusted person to make medical decisions for an incapacitated person, and more.
However, a probate lawyer is an attorney who concentrates on all of the legal aspects, paperwork, and nuances of the probate process in particular. For example, probate lawyers can assist with any of the following things:
- Assessing the appointed executor of the probate estate
- Ensuring proper interpretation of the will and addressing will disputes
- Transferring ownership of real estate and other assets
- Managing debt payments and requesting relief from creditors
- Minimizing estate taxes and maximizing the estate’s value
- Providing guidance on trust administration