Probate court handles all issues that involve administering an estate after its owner’s death. In the end, the decedent’s property and belongings are handed over to heirs and beneficiaries. There are certain facts about probate in California that are important for estate owners and heirs to know.
What is probate?
Probate is the process of proving a will or other estate document in court. The purpose is to validate the accuracy of the document and then distribute the deceased person’s estate to his or her beneficiaries.
This process occurs in a probate court where the probate is granted to the estate’s executor. Then, the executor or personal representative distributes the deceased person’s assets as outlined in the will. The court also settles any disputes that arise, usually involving creditors or beneficiaries, during this process.
Some states, including California, allow people to avoid going through probate; one way is to establish a living trust. A valid trust document is similar to a will and requires the appointment of a trustee to administer the estate.
If a person dies without a will, the probate court has to handle his or her estate according to the local jurisdiction’s laws. The court has to appoint an executor. If the beneficiaries are not satisfied with the executor, they can remove the appointed person from the position.
Learn about probate before estate planning
A probate court ensures that a will is valid, and any challenge made to the will must be contested in court. If there is no will, probate is needed to appoint an executor. In any case, probate is a legal process that many people go through to distribute a deceased person’s estate to the designated heirs and beneficiaries.