Why navigating probate alone is nearly impossible

When a family member or a loved one dies, dealing with your grief is just the beginning.  After the funeral comes the process of handling his or her estate. This is done through the process of probate.

Probate is the legal court-supervised process that takes place after a person dies. It is a step by step process that includes:

  • Proving in court that a decedent’s will is valid
  • Identifying and taking an inventory of the decedent’s property and assets
  • Having the property appraised
  • Paying off any debts and taxes owed by the estate
  • Distribution of the remaining property and assets per instructions in the will (or according to the state’s intestate laws if there’s no will in place)

Probate is a complex legal process and navigating probate alone can result in mistakes that can have significant consequences for both you and the other beneficiaries. And, if you’re the executor of the estate, the court holds you personally responsible for managing the probate process which can be a frustrating, if not an impossible task.

Hiring an experienced probate attorney can not only save you the difficulty and stress involved during the process, but can also save you time and money.

Do they make it confusing intentionally?

Navigating probate alone can be confusing and overwhelming.  You’re still going through the grieving process of losing a loved one, and confusion about probate court can cause much distress during a very difficult time in your life.

In general, a typical timeline for the probate process begins when the executor prepares and files a “petition for probate” by submitting proof as to the validity of the will. It ends with the final distribution of estate funds to all heirs and other beneficiaries.  The entire process can take up to 2 years to complete.

There are some common mistakes that people make when trying to navigate probate without legal guidance:

  • Missing deadlines or documentation
  • Mishandling creditor claims
  • Mismanaging the assets of the estate
  • Neglecting to file estate taxes
  • Paying unnecessary taxes and fees

Your best solution

Navigating probate court requires an understanding of the all of the legal concepts and requirements that are involved in the probate process in general, as well as the specific rules and procedures that are required by the state of California. An experienced probate attorney can provide sound legal advice, answering all of your questions and serving as a guide throughout the entire process.

At the Law Office of David W. Foley, San Diego County probate attorney, we specialize in providing a wide array of professional services for all of your estate planning needs, including probate representation.  Our attorneys are experienced when it comes to California laws as they apply to the probate process.

Contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.