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Bay Area probate attorneyLosing someone you love is never easy, regardless of their age and if they were a relative or a friend. Besides grieving this loss, you may have to figure out what to do with their possessions. Similar to other states, there is a certain legal process in California for distributing assets and property upon a person’s death. The property that an individual owns at the time of their death is known as the “decedent’s estate.” The “decedent” is the individual who died. Their “estate” is any property they owned at the time of their death.

Probate is a legal process through which the appropriate county court verifies the validity of the deceased person’s Will and distributes the decedent’s remaining assets after all debts are satisfied. If no Will exists, the debts must be paid, and then the remaining assets will be distributed according to state law.

When Is Probate Necessary?

Any probate case will be supervised by the court. As part of the proceedings, an executor is appointed by the court as personal representative to collect the assets, pay the debts and expenses, and then distribute the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries, or those who have legal inheritance rights. It is important to note that an executor refers to a person named in the decedent’s will. If the decedent did not have a will, then an administrator will be appointed by the court. The entire case can take anywhere from nine months to a year and a half or longer.

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Bay Area estate planning attorney wills and trusts

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our way of life over this past year. Throughout the spring and summer, local and state governments issued stay-at-home orders in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. With more people spending time at home with their loved ones, they may have considered what would happen if they got seriously ill. Important factors to think about include who would make healthcare decisions for them if they became incapacitated or who would receive their personal property in the event of their death. 

Estate planning involves pre-planning or arranging for the management and disposal of an individual’s estate, which is important to make sure a person’s wishes are protected. You may have heard of a will or a trust before but are unsure of what issues they address. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of these documents, an experienced attorney can help you determine which one is appropriate for your situation. 

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