If you want to plan your estate in an informed manner, you should certainly understand the probate process. A Los Angeles probate lawyer can provide you with the information that you need. Let’s look at the facts.
Los Angeles Probate Lawyer
Picture a fictional scene that takes place after someone dies. There is a home gathering after the funeral, and people are somberly milling about. One by one certain individuals are called into a study.
Someone is sitting at the desk, and the attendees are told that there is going to be a reading of the will.
The implication is that the heirs to the estate will receive checks in the mail after this meeting has taken place.
This is indeed a fictional scenario. In the real world things don’t work this way.
When you draw up your last will, you should include the choice of an executor. This is the estate administrator. The executor is charged with the responsibility of conducting the business of the estate. In many cases, the executor will engage the assistance of a Los Angeles probate lawyer to provide guidance during the process.
The executor must admit the will to the probate court that is local to the decedent. The property that comprises the estate is not distributed to the heirs until the estate has been probated and closed.
Why Does Probate Exist?
Probate exists to provide certain protections. Suppose an acquaintance approaches you about a loan. He or she wants to start a business, and you sometimes provide people that you know with venture capital.
Legally binding documents are drawn up, an interest rate is agreed upon, and you extend the loan. Unfortunately, the person who borrowed the money passes away before the loan is paid.
Suppose the fictional reading of the will scenario played itself out. After the private reading of the will, the person in charge of the estate liquidates property and mails out checks to the heirs. The only guide that is used is the will. The will does not name you, the IRS, credit card companies, auto loan companies, and any other creditors that may be out there.
Probate exists, at least in part, to give creditors the opportunity to come forward seeking satisfaction before the property that comprises the estate is distributed to the heirs.
Another reason why probate exists is to give interested parties the chance to challenge the validity of the last will.
This can seem like a nuisance that is something that would be initiated by a disgruntled party who can’t accept reality. This sometimes happens, but there are legitimate challenges that can be heard by the court.
If a will was constructed under certain circumstances a challenge could be successful. These acceptable grounds for a challenge would include undue coercion, incapacitation of the testator, fraud, and improper execution.
Probate also provides oversight as the executor goes about the business of the estate. If the heirs to the estate suspected any wrongdoing they could inform the court.
When a Los Angeles probate lawyer is retained, an experienced professional can be standing at the ready to help navigate the estate through this legal process.
A Los Angeles probate attorney lawyer can certainly be of great assistance with an estate is passing through the process. However, there are steps that you could take to facilitate asset transfers outside of the process of probate. This is often done, because probate is time-consuming, and it is a public proceeding. Interested parties could find out how you decided to pass along your assets if your estate goes through probate.
Plus, you would be allowing for lump sum distributions all at once if you provide direct inheritances through the terms of a will that is subject to the probate process.
To avoid probate, you could establish a revocable living trust. Assets in the trust would be distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes outside of probate after you pass away, and you would not be compelled to allow for lump sum inheritances.
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