As a young person, you have more immediate concerns than familiarizing yourself with estate planning and probate, right? Wrong. Despite being young, many of your loved ones are not. When their time comes, it's likely that they will have chosen, or the state of California will choose, someone to manage the distribution of their money and property, also known as their estate.
The person selected to distribute the estate is the executor, and despite the executor's background, they must perform certain duties on behalf of the state, or petition to have someone else named.
Knowing a little bit about probate will not only help if you are named an executor, but it will help you begin to build knowledge about how to create your estate plan when the time comes.
What is probate?
When a person in California dies, their estate must be settled in probate court. The complexity of the process will depend on how the deceased left their estate.
If named as executor, either in a will or by the courts, there is a basic process you can follow:
- Identify if there is a will
- File the will and a petition for probate
- Pay the filing fee
- Consult with county officials about any additional forms
- Gather all assets, debts and benefits
- File list of probate property with the court
- Obtain a taxpayer ID and open an estate bank account
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when it comes to the probate process, and familiarizing yourself with the terms today is in you, and your loved ones, best interest.