What is Probate?
From the Latin meaning “to prove,” probate is the process by which a will is proven to be valid and entitled to be given effect, meaning that the property of the estate may be distributed to heirs and beneficiaries in accordance with the wishes of the person who made the will, known as the testator. The probate process involves gathering together all the property of the estate and making an inventory and appraisal of it. Creditors must be notified of the probate, and valid debts and taxes owed are paid. Then the property of the estate is disposed of according to the terms of the will. If the person died without a valid will, the estate will be distributed according to California laws of intestate succession.
How We Can Help
The probate process can take nine months to a year or more depending upon the nature and the size of the estate, court dockets, and other factors. Our experienced probate lawyers work diligently to lessen the time and expense of probate, so that the testator’s intended heirs and beneficiaries can receive their due as soon as possible.
There are also times when litigation becomes part of the probate process. Interested persons may object to the appointment of a particular person as the personal representative of the estate, or they may allege that the personal representative has failed to fulfill one of the many fiduciary duties imposed on that position. Will contests and challenges can also take many forms, including allegations that the testator lacked the capacity to make the will, that the proper statutory requirements were not met, or that the will was the product of fraud, duress or undue influence imposed on the testator. There also may be more than one will in existence, and litigation may be necessary to determine which is the proper, valid will to admit into probate. Our lawyers have years of courtroom experience trying a wide variety of cases and are ready and able to litigate probate matters where necessary to protect our client’s interests.
Experienced California Probate Lawyers
If you have lost someone close to you, we understand that you are going through a difficult, emotional time, all the while attending to the million details that must be dealt with at a loved one’s passing. Put your trust in the hands of experienced probate lawyers who will work carefully and conscientiously to see that the estate is administered properly and without delay. In Southern California from Santa Clarita to Victorville, contact the probate attorneys at Pisegna & Zimmerman for assistance.