For many California residents who are dealing with estate planning issues, “probate” almost seems like a bad word. At the Law Offices of Roshni T. Desai, many of our clients are concerned about avoiding the problems surrounding the probate process. Whether you are writing your will or trust for your loved ones or sorting out the estate of a relative who has recently passed away, it can help to understand what exactly probate entails.
You may have heard horror stories about a will dispute tying up an inheritance for months or even years. When there is an issue with a will, the next step is for probate court to step in, so it is understandable that the mere mention of probate can cause anxiety. Why is probate not necessarily a scary thing? The Balance explains that probate is simply a legal procedure that is routinely employed after someone’s death, which determines where his or her property goes. If the person left a clearly detailed will, then the will’s executor will be identified and the court may take a few measures to ensure the will was executed properly.
During this time, you might decide to contest your loved one’s will, especially if you believe the will was falsely executed or written under duress. If your loved one did not leave behind a will, then the probate court will decide how to divide the decedent’s estate among the heirs.
As you can see, in most cases probate is a straightforward process. Ensuring your wishes are clear and legally executed may help your loved ones avoid the headache of a drawn-out probate procedure. Our page on wills and trusts explains the probate process in further detail.