Orange County Probate Lawyer

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Probate in Orange County

Most estates have to pass through probate before the property is distributed to the beneficiaries. While the process is relatively straightforward for small estates valued at up to $166,250, it can be quite complex for larger estates. Fortunately, an Orange County probate lawyer can assist you with the duties, so you can move through the legal process and distribute property to the heirs. An attorney can step in to handle specific aspects of probate, such as defending the estate against fraudulent creditor claims. You can also have your attorney guide you through the entire process.

Our probate attorney can help you overcome obstacles while ensuring you stay within the law. Additionally, we can advise you on your rights and obligations. Contact us today to discuss your situation so we can provide the help you need.

California Probate Process

There are numerous steps involved in probating an estate. The steps include:
  • Validating the will, if applicable.
  • Inventorying and valuing the assets.
  • Paying expenses and debts.
  • Distributing the property to beneficiaries.

Probate Overview

Your Orange County probate lawyer will begin the process by filing the will and a petition to open probate. If the deceased named an executor in the will, he or she will be in charge of probating the estate. However, the court will appoint an executor if one isn’t named or if there is not a will. Then, the executor will be tasked with determining the beneficiaries and inventorying and valuing the assets. The executor will then update the court and notify the creditors. Next, the executor has to pay the debts, including taxes, and request for probate to be closed. Once probate is closed, the executor is free to distribute the assets.

While probate goes smoothly in many cases, creditors and interested parties can file claims, causing it to grind to a halt. Also, it’s possible that some assets might be hard to locate or value, or the executor might have problems tracking down all the beneficiaries. This is especially true if they live out of state. Your Orange County probate lawyer can help you navigate any challenges you face.

Probate Filing Deadline

If you are filing for simplified probate, you must wait until 40 days after the death. Then you can file. However, you only have 30 days to file a request for formal probate with the court. If you’re named the executor and fail to file in that timeframe, the court can appoint another executor.

If you’re unsure of how to file, consult with an Orange County probate lawyer. Your attorney can help you file all the necessary paperwork to initiate the process. Then, your lawyer can guide you through the additional steps.

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What If There Is Not A Will?

Estates without wills must still go through probate. In this instance, the person has died intestate, and the property is distributed based on the laws of succession. Essentially, that means that the person’s closest relatives take precedence when distributing the property, starting with the spouse. You can prevent this from happening to you by working with our Orange County probate lawyer. Our lawyer will help you draft a will so you will have control over who receives your property after you pass away.

How Long Does Probate Take?

In some instances, estates can be probated in as little as a year. However, probate normally takes at least 18 months, but it can stretch out to two years or longer for complicated estates. If you want to complete it as quickly as possible, consult with an Orange County probate lawyer. Your attorney can help you move through it quickly while following the law. Then, you can settle the estate, distribute the property, and move forward.

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