After your parents’ deaths, you may have been stuck with a lot of possessions you have no use for. The figurines and art? Expensive, but not your style. The fine china and silver? You already have your own sets. The living room furniture and the sports equipment in the garage? You don’t have room for all of it. Like other California residents who have inherited items they don’t need, you may be considering holding an estate sale.
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.
Californian residents who are handling an estate after the passing of a loved one will have to deal with state taxes as well. These matters can get complicated quickly and making mistakes can be costly, so it's best to have some guidance throughout the process.
Californian residents who are dealing with matters of the estate are likely hearing numerous terms they may not be familiar with. For example, what's the difference between an heir and a beneficiary? Some may think the terms are interchangeable, but they aren't.
In California, probate courts typically require the trustee or executor of the estate to hire a probate referee. If you are filling the role of a trustee or executor, the California Probate Referee System can make your job much easier.
The holiday season is a special time of year in California. Families get together, friends celebrate and workers across the state get some much-needed time off. However, as much as you may want to enjoy your holidays and expect them to be happy, not everything happens on a regular schedule.
Probate is the legal process where the will of a deceased person is validated and assets are passed on to living beneficiaries. This process also satisfies the debts and taxes of the deceased through an executor. Proceeds from life insurance, bank accounts that are payable at the time of death, certain retirement accounts and real estate ownership accounts will go directly to beneficiaries and do not go through probate. All other property from the deceased will be included in the probate estate.
Death can be expected and planned for, or a sudden surprise leaving loved ones struggling with the deceased’s financial affairs. Whatever the case may be, there are often a number of financial issues that may arise once a loved one passes. As an estate executor, you may have been named in the will or appointed by a court to oversee affairs involving the estate. You are responsible for ensuring any remaining debts and expenses owed by the deceased are repaid using the value of the estate. While it is critical that some expenses must be paid, there are others that you are not required to pay at all.
If you have recently lost a friend or loved one, you may be dealing with a host of emotions. It can be difficult to make critical decisions during such a hard time, especially when it comes to dealing with the final matters of the deceased’s estate. In some cases, the estate may enter into the probate process in California, which could add to the complexity of the situation. Probate is designed to ensure the validity of the will, if one was left behind, and to aid in the distribution of the property to beneficiaries.
If you are considering getting your estate plan in order, it will be important to distinguish the differences between probate and non-probate assets.