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The Firm For California Probate And Estate Administration

Since 1939, the attorneys at Tuttle & McCloskey, PC, have endeavored to provide clients with the top-notch legal guidance they need to get a resolution to their issue. As one of the oldest continuously operating firms in the Valley, we call upon our decades of experience and know-how to provide you and your family with knowledgeable, accessible and compassionate representation and counsel.

Losing a loved one is a time of uncertainty and emotional distress. There are so many “loose ends” and paperwork that must be attended to. At Tuttle & McCloskey, we can help. We will explain what needs to be done when and the best way to do it. We can also guide you through the probate process and ensure that the will is followed, obligations are met and all documents are filed time.

What The California Probate Process Does

Probate is what happens after someone dies. If that person, called the “decedent,” has property worth more than $150,000 – the value threshold in California – the estate may have to go through the California probate process. If the decedent is survived by a spouse, the probate process typically will not be required, as assets such as a jointly owned home, an IRA, 401(k), and checking and savings accounts will transfer to the spouse if they have been set up to do so.

Certain types of planning can eliminate the need for probate. Naming beneficiaries on accounts, creating a trust and setting up payable on death (POD) and transfer on death (TOD) designations are common ways to avoid assets from going through probate. However, if there is no living spouse, and assets or accounts are valued at over $150,000 and have not been set up to avoid probate or do not have a named, living beneficiary, then it’s likely that the estate will need to be processed through the California probate court.

Probate is the required court process needed to transfer the decedent’s assets to family members and loved ones. Probate can take time and can cost money. Several things will happen during the probate process. These include:
  • Validating the will
  • Identifying heirs and beneficiaries
  • Valuing the assets
  • Paying off debts
  • Distributing assets to heirs or beneficiaries as indicated by the will or, if there is no will, by California intestacy laws
Who takes care of these things? Typically an executor will be named in the will. It is the executor’s job to take care of the above-listed tasks. If there is no will (when someone dies without a will they are said to have died intestate), then the state will appoint someone to take care of the estate administration. This person is called a personal representative.
 
The job of the personal representative is to gather all of the assets and pay off any debts and expenses. The personal representative also ensures that the heirs and beneficiaries all receive what they should under California intestacy laws. When an estate goes through probate a court will supervise this process. California probate can take between a few months to a year or more to complete.
 

Getting The Help You Need

Not everyone is in a place in their life where they can take on the role of executor or personal representative. When you need guidance, advice, or the support of an experienced professional, the attorneys at Tuttle & McCloskey, PC, are here for you.

Call 559-500-3393 and speak to a team member about your situation. We will answer your questions and tell you about your options. You can also send us an email about your situation, and we will get back to your promptly.