After the death of a loved one, those left behind will face the task of settling his or her estate. If you are mourning the loss of a family member or someone close to you, it can be a daunting task to also consider what needs to be done in order to close the estate and distribute assets appropriately. If you have a claim to the estate or you are the individual who will act as the executor of the California estate, it is in your interests to know what you should expect in the following months.
Probate is the court-supervised legal process of validating a will and closing the estate. In most cases, probate is a requirement, and it can take months or even years to complete. While probate can be complex and difficult, understanding the steps involved with this process can help one avoid complications and setbacks that can unnecessarily extend the time it takes to close the estate.
Steps involved with probate
The first step involved with the probate process is locating the will and filing the appropriate paperwork with the right court. This opens the estate, and it allows the court to determine if the will is valid. After these initial requirements, you may also have to take the following steps:
- The court will appoint an executor if the decedent did not already name one in his or her will.
- The executor will oversee the process of locating estate assets and determining their value.
- The executor will notify creditors that have an outstanding claim and will pay remaining debts associated with the estate.
- The executor will file one last tax return and pay any outstanding taxes owed by the estate.
At the conclusion of these steps, the executor will distribute remaining estate assets as directed by the terms of the will. As you can see, the person who acts as the executor of the estate has an immense responsibility.
Guidance during the probate process
Navigating probate can be a difficult process, but you do not have to face it alone. When you prepare for what to expect, you may find that it is less complicated and that you experience fewer difficulties. Before you take the first step, you may benefit from seeking an explanation of how you can protect your interests and meet the requirements of probate as quickly and easily as possible.