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A Review of Probate Law in California

By Guest Author On July 27, 2011 Under Setting Goals, Success Secrets

A number of complexities exist in the legal field that pertains to the unfortunate circumstance of a death of a family member or loved one, and this field is further complicated by the unique characteristics of each state’s individual regulations. The state of California, in particular, is different from the legal precepts of other states in its handling of estates, trusts, living wills, etc. We strongly suggest consulting a sacramento probate lawyer  to help delineate and explain your individual circumstances.

The advice of a professional attorney specializing in probate and estate law will be of great assistance during a period of family loss, while you are coming to terms with both the emotional loss of a family member as well as the legal and financial complexities of executing their estate.

After experiencing a situation like this myself, I’ve written some relevant material from one such a sacramento probate lawyer, Jonathan P. Huber, with two locations in California. After a consultation with him, I came away with a much deeper knowledge of this particular field of law.

When a person dies, the disbursement of their money, houses, cars, etc. is handled in consistency with their requests documented by their Will. In the situation where no Will is able to be located, California law establishes the regular division and disbursement of one’s estate to their relatives. However, simply because beneficiaries are declared to receive the assets that make up the deceased’s estate, does not resolve the matter immediately.

Probate is the legal word referring to the process by which the estate is given to the eventual recipients. In order to guarantee that this sequence of events takes place without disregard to any named party, the state administrators typically oversee these actions. Sadly, this adds additional complexity and more issues into a process that may already be quite involved.

For situations when the deceased had taken the time to formally establish a trust, this sequence of events tends to be simpler, since the particular allocation and terms of division have already been written down. With such a situation, most of the legal burden is handled before the time of death, when the papers for the trust are filed. Usually this happens during the process of estate planning, which is why we suggest the guidance of a licensed a trusted attorney.

Trusts can also be very effective in shielding assets from excess taxation, because their terms may be written precisely to operate efficiently under local law. Of course, if special care is taken to fit particular state requirements which may be subject to change, you’ll have to reconsider the makeup of the trust every few years to ensure that they remain in compliance with, and achieve the same result as, what was originally desired.

The dangers of careless estate planning is that huge amounts of money may have to be spent toward:

  • Local taxes coming into effect.
  • Contention amongst family members (requiring the courts to resolve) if there is any ambiguity represented by the Will.
  • Lawyer fees to manage the details of Probate.
  • Costs related to professional assistance in estate management.

You can learn more information about probate and estate law on the Internet, by reading sites dedicated to this topic. Many excellent lawers can be found to assist with your own circumstances with discernment and experience, and I highly suggest that you seek out their help.

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