If a California loved one ever names you as an executor over his or her estate, you may find yourself involved in the probate process, which is a common, yet often-misunderstood, aspect of estate planning. Essentially, probate refers to the court-supervised process of proving the accuracy of a will, and there are typically a number of different steps involved in the procedure.
According to Entrepreneur, most typical, and relatively simple, probate processes take between about six and 18 months to complete, with the executor taking a number of steps to prove the will’s validity and see that its author’s wishes are carried out. During this time, the executor notifies any beneficiaries named in the will about what they are to receive, which gives named heirs a chance to challenge the will, or a certain aspect of it, should they choose to do so.
The probate period also typically involves taking inventory over the assets of the deceased and determining their value, and it may, too, involve liquidating certain assets, such as real estate or business holdings, as necessary. This is also often the time to pay for any funeral or burial expenses for the deceased, and, if necessary, any estate taxes, too.
As an executor, you can also expect to have to furnish a comprehensive account of how and when you plan to distribute assets in accordance with the decedent’s wishes as part of the probate process. At its core, the probate procedure offers protection to those named as heirs in the will while helping ensure that the assets listed therein undergo proper distribution.
This information about the steps in the probate process seeks to inform you, but it is not a replacement for personal legal guidance.