An experienced probate lawyer Folsom CA residents call understands that in legal issues regarding probate matters, clients are usually grieving from the loss of a loved one. Each and every Folsom probate lawyer from the Yee Law Group is sensitive to a client’s emotional loss during this time. We are also aware that there may be acrimonious feelings between heirs of the deceased’s estate which can compound the difficulty involved in the probate process.
What Does a Probate Lawyer Folsom CA Depend On Do?
When a person draws up a will, they are required to appoint someone as executor of their estate. The executor is responsible for overseeing the estate and disposition of any property and possessions after the person dies. This includes ensuring heirs receive the assets or property that is left to them, paying off the debts and taxes of the estate, and carrying out any other wishes of the deceased person. This process is referred to as probate and must be done under the auspices of the court.
A probate lawyer, sometimes referred to as an estate lawyer, assists the person who has been named as the executor of an estate through the probate process. The first thing a probate lawyer Folsom CA clients recommend will do is file a petition for probate in the county in which the deceased person lived. There may be other documentation filed as well. Shortly after this filing, the court will approve the executor appointment as long as there are no objections from any other qualified parties.
Some of the legal issues that a probate lawyer can help an executor address include:
- Identifying and securing all of the assets and property of the deceased
- Appraisals of all of the estate’s property
- Collection of life insurance policies
- Filing all required documentation with the courts
- Overseeing all retirement accounts and/or pensions
- Overseeing all estate property sales
- Negotiating settlements between beneficiaries of the estate
- Addressing all estate and income tax issues
What if a Person Dies Without a Will?
An experienced probate lawyer Folsom CA offers knows that when a person dies without a will in California, this is referred to as intestate. Under the law, the deceased person’s property and possessions would go to their spouse if they were married at the time of their death. If they were not married then the following succession would take place:
- Children (or grandchildren if no living children)
- Siblings (or siblings’ children if siblings are not living)
- Aunts and uncles (or their children)
If there are no cousins, then the court will divide the proceeds of the estate equally among anyone it deems next of kin.
Estate Assets versus Non-Estate Assets
When a person dies, they leave behind certain assets. These are the belongings the beneficiaries will receive. But not every piece of property the decedent owned will have to go through probate.
What is probate?
Probate is the process by which the assets and liabilities of the decedent are paid. The property the decedent owned is called the estate. This is everything from cars and houses to bank accounts and family heirlooms.
Generally, a will is used to guide the personal representative on how to distribute assets and property after all debts have been paid. Probate can be a time consuming and sometimes costly endeavor.
What are estate assets?
Estate assets are simply the assets and other property that are part of the estate. The assets can range from vehicles and houses to furniture and pictures. All estate assets must be processed through probate. If an individual dies with lots of debt, some of these assets could be sold off to pay back the debts.
What are non-estate assets?
Non-estate assets are assets that don’t have to go through the probate process. As a result, if the decedent died with debt, these assets could not be sold to help pay off the debt. These non-estate assets immediately become the property of the heir.
In order to designate an asset as a non-estate asset, it takes more than simply saying you don’t want an asset to be part of probate. In order to make an asset a non-estate asset, the decedent would have to make this designation prior to their death.
When thinking of examples of non-estate assets, think generally about bank accounts with payable on death designations. These are commonly found on IRA and 401(k) accounts where beneficiaries can be noted.
In addition to specific items being kept out of probate by individual designation, trusts can also avoid probate. Trusts are one of the best ways to avoid probate for all items. If an asset is owned by or titled in the name of the trust, that asset is a non-estate asset and avoid probate altogether. Using trusts, everything from vehicles to pictures can be passed onto the decedent’s beneficiaries without the need for probate.
Do you still have questions?
Losing a loved one is one of the most challenging times in a person’s life. Dealing with the complexities of what is and what is not an estate asset can be simply overwhelming. When you need a Folsom, CA probate lawyer you can trust, the Yee Law Group can help.
Our skilled probate lawyer Folsom, CA can quickly determine for you what assets must be probated and what assets do not. Spending this time with us while we get to know you and your situation can save you in the long run by helping you avoid probate. Even if there are assets that must be probated, our experience can help you save time and money and allow you to focus on what matters during this challenging time – your family.
Contact our probate lawyer Folsom, CA today to ask more questions about probate and to start the process.
Contact a Probate Lawyer Folsom CA Residents Trust Today
If you need legal advice regarding any probate or estate planning issues, contact a skilled probate lawyer in Folsom CA. The Yee Law Group, P.C. offers more than 40 years of combined legal experience that spans the globe.
Call us to speak with a probate lawyer Folsom CA provides at 916-927-9001 for a free consultation.