It’s human nature to fear what we don’t understand, and probate is often in that category. When it comes up in connection with themselves or loved ones, people can get uncomfortable with a process that seems complex and even scary.
In the first place, probate isn’t even necessary in many cases. How people own property or how many assets they have come into play. A simple and short conversation with professional will usually put most peoples’ fears to rest.
If probate is necessary, however, the sooner a professional is involved, the better. Probate is a legal process, and like all other such procedures, a checklist of what needs to be done, and when, comes into play. The first item of business is determining whether or not the deceased person left a will, and whether the will named an executor. If there’s no will or if the executor is unwilling to serve, a family member can seek court appointment as an administrator of the estate, who performs pretty much the same work.
The executor’s (or administrator’s) first job is to file the will with the county probate court and pay the filing fees. The court will validate the will and issue what’s called “Letters Testamentary” or “Letters of Administration.” The appoint the executor and grant him or her the authority to distribute the estate’s assets and pay the bills, which include the deceased’s end-of-life expenses as well as other bills that may have been owed. If they do not have any liquidity to pay the creditors. Thats when they usually have to sell the real estate to settle the estate & pay the hairs of the estate.
One of the executor’s main responsibilities is safeguarding the assets while the process runs its course. He or she also must strive to obtain the highest possible value for estate items to be liquidated. If the estate includes a house, the insurance must be kept in force and the property maintained in good order. Any personal valuables must be safeguarded. Here again, the help of a professional can help both the administrator and heirs rest easy
This work sounds harder than it really is, but believe me, it’s far easier than many tasks people do. The duties don’t have to all be done at once, and it usually takes six months to a year to distribute an estate.
As a proud member of U.S. Probate Services.org, the nation’s leading free consumer resource to probate, conservatorship and estate settlement, I help people through times which can be emotionally difficult for them. It’s my job to take the mystery out of probate and help people move forward with their lives. If I can help you, please contact me. I serve all of Los Angeles & the South Bay.