California Wills and the Probate Process

Valencia Estate Planning Attorney Assists with Writing Wills and Managing Estates

In the state of California, the estate of every decedent will pass through the probate process if you either own real estate or have assets totaling $100,000.00. Probate is a court proceeding by which an estate is distributed according to the terms of a will, or according to California intestacy law. When a person dies without a will, they are said to have died intestate. The cookie-cutter system by which the state distributes assets and liabilities of estates without wills among beneficiaries may not align with your personal wishes. It is crucial to the future of your estate that, at the bare minimum, you have a will prepared (but a comprehensive Estate Plan, including a Revocable Living Trust is preferable) and that you have the assistance of a skilled and experienced attorney on your side in the preparation of estate administration documents.

A will is a legal document that designates how your estate will be divided and who the beneficiaries of your estate will be. Furthermore, it can have provisions for certain situations, such as guardians for minor children until they are legal adults. Finally, you will need to name an executor of your estate in your will. The executor is an individual who will collect and manage your assets while the probate process is being conducted. In addition, this individual may be responsible for making sure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes at the conclusion of the probate process.

A will does NOT avoid probate. It is simply a road map for the probate court it follow, to distribute your estate as laid out in your will. Probate is slow (approximately 18 months to probate a non-contested estate in Los Angeles County) and expensive (fees are determined by a statutory scheme based upon the gross value of your estate).

A comprehensive Estate Plan, will include Pour over will(s), that will go along with your Revocable Trust. Tangible personal property will be distributed in this will and guardianship designation will be determined.

Find the Representation You Need in Santa Clarita

If you are seeking to prepare a will or create an Estate Plan or wish to update a current will or Estate Plan, then you will greatly benefit from the legal assistance of a Valencia estate planning lawyer from our firm. At Barnholtz & Kugler, we are dedicated to serving the residents of Valencia, California as well as the residents of Santa Clarita in various estate planning matters and have been doing so for a number of years. With many years of experience, you can look to us for the skilled assistance and help that you need in order to prepare an effective and binding will. Seek the legal assistance of our firm today!