Probate Process in CA

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Probate begins when the executor named in the will starts the process. A family member can also ask the courts to be appointed as administrator of the estate if there is no will or the person named as executor in the will is unavailable. The executor must file the will and a document called "Petition for Probate" with the probate court.

If the decedent left a will, the courts must determine the validity of the will by having the witnesses of the will sign a sworn statement. The court will then issue "Letters Testamentary" or "Letters of Administration," which appoint an executor.

Duties of the Executor or Administrator

As an executor or administrator, you are going to be held to the highest standards of "fiduciary duty," and you must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and the estate. Probate in California takes on average nine months to a year and a half to complete, and your duties shall include:

  • Gathering the decedent's assets
  • Manage the decedent's assets, including investments and rental properties
  • Notifying creditors and beneficiaries
  • Providing an accounting to the court
  • Follow all orders of the court
  • Pay all debts against the estate
  • Defend creditor lawsuits
  • File all final income tax returns and tax returns for the estate
  • Once all debts and probate expenses are paid, distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the instructions in the will

With fifteen years of experience as a CPA, our Sonoma County probate attorney understands the legal and economic aspects of the probate process and can help you with taxes and other issues.

Appointed as an executor? Call us for help.

Are you serving as the executor or administrator for a late loved one's estate? Our legal team is well-equipped to walk you through the probate process in Sonoma County. We offer a free case evaluation to help you learn more about your options.

If you're interested in learning more about how we can guide you in the probate process, contact Gullotta Law Group! We also assist individuals in Santa Rosa.

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