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Probate is process in which a deceased's will (where there is one) is submitted to the Probate Court and the assets and property are administered following his/her death. 
The process of “probating” (or “administering”) the estate of a deceased generally includes collecting all assets of the estate, inventorying and appraising those assets; assembling and either paying or negotiating the deceased’s appropriate debts; determining, preparing and filing appropriate income and estate taxes and real estate fillings; and finally distributing any remaining assets in accordance with the will or the laws of intestacy (if there is no will) to beneficiaries, and closing the estate. 

It is important to understand each heir’s rights in the estate, and the proper way for the estate representative to file, give notice to interested persons, and obtain authorization to act in behalf of the estate.  When a client takes on the responsibility of serving as an executor or trustee following the death of a family member or friend, the task can seem overwhelming.  

We prepare and file forms, give required notice, obtain property appraisals, draft inventories and accounts, ensure compliance with tax filings, assist with selling and disposing of estate property, and guide the representative in settlement and approval of final accountings for the estate.  We have access to experts in art, furnishings, antiques and real estate values, realtors, tax accountants, and other professionals needed to get the work done correctly.

To the novice, probate laws can be complicated and are a trap for the unwary and may cause many problems for those handling a probate on their own, or being guided by an attorney without experience in this area.  We work to lift this burden from the client to the greatest extent possible.  We help simplify this complicated process for you by working with you closely every step of the way to ensure that all the deceased’s assets are distributed correctly and as promptly as possible.

We also advise on techniques that can be used after an individual has died to reduce taxes or otherwise adjust a plan where appropriate.  For example, the deceased sometimes forgets to designate a beneficiary to his/her retirement account, and in doing so, risks losing the opportunity to “roll-over” the retirement benefits to his/her children.  We have helped beneficiaries work around this problem so that they do get the benefit of the roll-over and save taxes. 

Estate administration is a complex and detailed process.  We are experienced and proficient in handling estate matters.  We handle probates in all Southern California courts (and some in Northern California).  We invite and listen to your questions, and we explain each step to ensure that you understand and are comfortable with how the administration is proceeding.  Please contact us by phone or email with your questions.

LINK: Probate and Trust Administration

LINK: Trusts set up by the Court

LINK: Trusts set up by Parents/Relatives

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