Californians may need the services of a probate court for an array of reasons. However, perhaps the most common reason why an individual would need to bring a matter to the probate court is to administer the estate of a loved one who has passed away. While not every estate will be administered through the probate courts, larger, more complex estates often are. An estate can proceed through the probate court even when there is no will. And if this is the case, the distribution of property from the estate proceeds according to California intestacy laws.
The probate and estate planning attorneys of NewPoint Law Group can assist Californians with a variety of issues. If you need legal guidance while working as an administrator or executor of an estate, we may be able to help. Likewise, if a party has challenged your loved one’s final wishes as reflected in their last will and testament, we can fight to protect these goals. With law offices conveniently located in Folsom and Roseville, California, we can handle most probate matters or disputes held at the Sacramento Probate Court.
What Is Probate?
Put simply, probate is typically defined as the process by which property and assets of a deceased individual are distributed according to their will or according to state intestacy laws. Although a challenge to the authenticity of the will is fairly uncommon, initial steps in probate proceedings involve determining the authentication and validity of the deceased person’s will. Following this step, the probate court will be required to identify all estate property and create an inventory of the property after appraisal. After the debts of the estate are satisfied, the inventoried property will be distributed according to the terms of the will or, in the absence of a will, California state law.
However, aside from the traditional probate process, probate courts in California can also handle several other matters. For instance, the Sacramento Probate court can also hear matters relating to the administration of living and testamentary trusts. The probate courts are additionally responsible for hearing cases concerning conservatorships and guardianships.
When Must a Person’s Go Through Sacramento Probate Court Proceedings?
To start, the estate of a deceased loved one will not proceed through the probate courts when there is a surviving spouse and the property held was community property or property held in an appropriate joint tenancy. Any property transferred from the estate prior to the individual’s death is not subject to probate either. Common methods of estate planning that minimize the property proceeding through probate include strategic gifting to loved ones and living trusts. Furthermore, for estates valued at less than $150,000, full probate proceedings are not required. However, there are often certain benefits and drawbacks regarding whether an estate proceeds through probate. Discussing the matter with an experienced probate and estate planning attorney can help an individual make a determination regarding the most favorable path forward.
When Are Conservatorship and Guardianship Proceedings in Sacramento Probate Court Needed?
California law recognizes two distinct, but related, concepts when individuals are unable to manage their own financial and other important affairs. That is, both conservatorships and guardianships can be used to address issues concerning incapacity of an individual. A conservatorship can be used to appoint a representative who will oversee and manage the financial, health, and other affairs of an older adult or an adult with developmental disabilities. For a child whose parents are unable to provide care, supervision, and support, a guardianship can be used to appoint a responsible adult to oversee the child’s affairs. Regardless of whether a guardianship or conservatorship is established, the appointed guardian or conservator must act in the party’s best interests. These types of legal arrangements are not lightly ordered by the probate court. Parties interested in establishing these types of legal relationships must proceed through a process and submit significant relevant evidence.
Work with a Sacramento Probate Attorney Today
The probate attorneys at NewPoint Law Group can assist Californians with numerous estate planning and probate matters. To discuss if our legal guidance is a good match for your concerns and goals, please call our Roseville or Folsom law offices by dialing 1-800-358-0305. All consultations are private and confidential.