What is probate and when is it required?
Probate is the process, required by law after someone passes away, to properly dispose of that person’s assets. In California, probate is required if the total assets of the decedent’s estate are greater than $150,000.00.
The first thing you need to do is find a local probate attorney to petition the probate court to accept the executor named in the will. Once the court accepts this person, he or she can begin to inventory the assets of the deceased.
Creditors must be notified by posting a notice of the death of the testator in the local paper and must be given six months to file any outstanding claims. Once all claims have been settled, using the assets from the estate, the executor can distribute the remaining assets as directed in the will.
This process usually takes a year to complete but can take much longer if there are any complications or contests to the will.
A good probate attorney will lead you through this process and help assure that the wishes of the testator are complied with.