Ensuring the Best Probate Legal Services for Roseville, California
The Roseville probate lawyers at McCunn Law are ready to help you navigate any legal issues you face during this difficult time. We understand that you want to fulfill your obligations as quickly and responsibly as possible,yet dealing with the estate administration process can be confusing and frustrating. You may face various complicated issues that seem impossible to navigate on your own. Our attorneys are here to help you every step of the way, so you can focus on mourning your loved one and moving forward while we handle everything else.
What Is Probate?
The first step of managing a decedent’s estate is undergoing probate, the court-supervised process required to settle an estate’s financial and legal affairs.Probate must be completed before the terms of the will canbe executed and before beneficiaries can receive access to their inheritances. In many cases, a will or estate plan will designate an administrator to handle these responsibilities. If no such document can be found, then the court may appoint an administrator to this position.
Court cases regarding probate typically deal with:
- Assessing the validity of a will
- Establishing the identity and authenticity of witnesses to a will
- Identifying estate representatives, beneficiaries, and next of kin
- Creating an inventory of all assets in an estate, including real property (e.g., homes, land), personal property (e.g., vehicles and other valuables), accounts in banks or investment firms, and cash on hand
- Appraising these assets to determine the overall value of the descendant’sproperty
- Analyzing the validity of creditor claims
- Paying estate debts and taxes, including property tax liens on any real estate owned by the deceased person
- Determining whether estate taxes are owed and paying them if necessary
- Ensuing all other outstanding financial obligations are met
- Distributing the remaining estate assets to beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or state law
What Is a Probate Lawyer?
Probate lawyers are attorneys who specialize in probate law.They offer legal representation and expert guidance to handle any legal issues that may arise when an individual dies, such as deciding how to distribute their assets. They work directly with executors by ensuring they understand the legal responsibilities of their role and may be involved in court proceedings on behalf of beneficiaries. Probate lawyers also typically serve as estate planning attorneys, helping individuals avoid probate by creating wills, trusts, and other legally binding estate planning documents. A Roseville probate attorney can be an incredibly valuable advocate for anyone who wishes to secure the future of their estate for their loved ones.
What Does a Probate Lawyer Do for You?
Probate lawyers can help family members avoid probate to streamline the process of transferring the assets and property within an estate to a decedent’s beneficiaries. Probate lawyers draft wills, trusts, and other estate planning law documents that help clients control how their property is managed, preserved, and distributed after their death. These attorneys can also help an executor with the process of administering an estate. Estate administration can be a complex task, and even minor mistakes can have a serious impact on beneficiaries, so securing legal representation as soon as possible is crucial for obtaining the best outcome in a case.
A probate lawyer can assist executors by:
- Explaining their rights and responsibilities
- Accurately and completely preparing all court documents
- Promptly filing them according to probate law
- Ensuring all deadlines are met
- Identifying, compiling, and appraising the assets and property in an estate
- Coordinating a real estate appraisal of a home
- Managing the checking account of an estate
- Determining all estate assets and liabilities
- Collecting on a life insurance policy payout
- Assessing and ensuring payment of all taxes, including inheritance and income taxes
- Managing monetary distributions and trust administration
- Retitling assets in the names of beneficiaries
- Distributing all assets according to the terms of a will or estate plan
Do I Need a Probate Lawyer?
While hiring a probate lawyer is not a requirement for completing the probate process, this approach is highly recommended. If you are thinking about hiring a Roseville probate lawyer, it is important to understand that situations may arise that you cannot reasonably handle on your own. You may need to hire an attorney if any of the following apply to your situation:
- You are the executor of a decedent’s estate and need help administering the estate.
- The will of your loved one makes you a beneficiary, but you want to make changes to it or challenge its validity.
- You are the beneficiary of an estate and want to challenge a will or trust document.
- Your current legal issues involve probate, wills, trusts, and estate administration.
- You have questions about how to avoid probate or who can serve as an executor.
It is typical for probate proceedings to take several months (or even years) and involve multiple court hearings and other deadlines. If you are appointed as an administrator, may need to hire an attorney, accountant, or financial advisor to assist with probate administration. You may also be responsible for filing estate tax returns and paying any federal estate taxes owed. Securing representation from an experienced probate lawyer can help you understand your obligations, answer your questions, and protect you throughout the probate process.
Numerous legal issues can make probate more complicated, expensive, and time-consuming. The larger the estate or the more nuanced the provisions of the estate plan, the more likely you are to experience serious issues. An attorney can help you avoid mistakes that could lead to legal disputes or even criminal charges. Hiring an attorney is always a good choice; it becomes especially important if your legal matter involves a high-net-worth estate or an estate with significant debts and/or taxes. A probate lawyer has experience dealing with creditor claims and knows exactly how to proceed if anyone contests the terms of the will or estate plan.
What If I Want to Challenge a Probate Document?
An estate administrator has a fiduciary duty to the estate, meaning they must make decisions that are in the best interest of the estate and its beneficiaries. They are also expected to keep detailed records of all transactions to ensure they are prudently handling all assets and investments. An administrator who misuses the assets and property in an estate to serve their own interests may be guilty of theft. If you are named as a beneficiary but do not receive the assets you believe you are entitled to, you may have a valid against the executor.