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Law

What Is the Probate Process?

There’s never a worse time for a family than during one particular moment: reading the last will and testament of a deceased family member.

Wills often turn brothers and sisters against each other when considerable sums of money are involved. One would think that the will would be the final word on the matter, but it often creates more contention. To verify that the will is sound, people must turn to the probate process to settle the matter.

Outside of Hollywood, the legal process for probate is not as dramatic as in the movie Knives Out. Keep reading as we discuss how it all works.

What Is the Probate Process?

The probate process involves three key goals:

  • Authenticating the deceased family member’s will
  • Making a full accounting of their assets and paying off any debts
  • Dividing up whatever’s left to family and anyone else included in the will

Before the process can begin, one usually hires a California probate to come and oversee the process. Determining if a will is valid is perhaps the most difficult–and important–part. It’s necessary to find out whether the will was written by the deceased person (not someone else) and whether they were of sound mind when they wrote it.

For a will to be valid, there should usually be witnesses present. The deceased must have signed the document in a particular way for it to have legal footing. If they were a minor, then the will is null and void.

Any complications in the process must go to probate court. It’s here where lawyers battle out the specifics, such as if the last will was valid and signed without coercion by another family member.

How Does an Estate Work?

An estate administration is an organization that handles the assets of a deceased family member. An estate executor is a person who serves in a legal capacity to determine what happens with the estate.

They will manage the estate’s assets and often may have accounting skills to do their work. This person is appointed by the family of the deceased and is a trusted confidant.

What Happens if There Is No Will?

If there is no last will and testament, then a probate lawyer is still required. The estate’s assets will be divvied up between family members equally unless any legal proceedings determine otherwise.

Without a will, there is less chance to fight the percentages that go to each person. Unless supporting documents can prove that it should be otherwise, it’s all an even split.

Find a Reputable Probate Today

The probate process is the definitive way of verifying and executing one’s last will. A will is a legal document that must have certain characteristics to be valid. Without a valid will, the assets of the deceased get an even split among all their heirs.

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