Orange County Probate Lawyer

At the Law Office of Desiree Causey, we represent people throughout Orange County.
We work in the areas of Bankruptcy Law, Probate Law, Family Law, Criminal Defense and more. Contact our law office today.

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The Law Office of Desiree Causey
: 7755 Center Ave #1100, Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Telephone: 714-372-2225
FAX: 714-908-7646
E-mail: info@surfcitylawyer.com

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Probate Law

The process of probate
it is critically important to understand how the probate process functions after you have passed away. There are two main steps to consider. The first step is addressing the debts that you have outstanding. These obviously will need to be paid. Secondly, the balance of your assets need to be distributed or transferred to your beneficiaries properly.

Everything is overseen by probate court. A probate court is a state court, not federal. It is also important to note that the probate process may differ from state to state however, they do follow the same steps that are mandated by law which include having a personal representative sworn in, calling a complete inventory of your assets and the notification of all heirs and creditors that you have passed away.

The distribution of your estate
You name the individual that you want to be your personal representative for your estate in your will. If you should pass away and have not written a will, or if you have not specified in your will the individual to be your personal representative the court will determine this.

Any family member can request of the court to be named the personal representative for your complete estate, and if the court chooses such an individual they will have the rights to handle all of your estate's affairs. This is all handled legally through a document entitled “letters testamentary” or “letters of administration.

The court appointed personal representative must file a specific document called a Petition for Probate of Will and Appointment of Personal Representative with the probate court. This specific and important petition big nights the the entire process of probate. If a will exists, the court immediately issues an order admitting your will to the probate process. The validity of the will shall be acknowledged by the court.

Public and creditor notification
In many of the states it is required that you write and publish a notice of death in the local paper which signifies that the estate has entered into probate and notifies any interested parties who may have an interest in the estate to file a claim within a specific time schedule. This notice makes your estate part of the public record.

Doing a proper inventory of your property
Both real and personal property must go through a complete inventory under the guidance of the personal representative to determine value. There are two reasons for this... to ensure that you have sufficient assets to cover debts and distributions to beneficiaries and also to make sure that all the property is accounted for.          
Most people have a good understanding of what they're estate’s value is and have a plan in place. Your personal representative must be kept up to date if you want no problems with the distribution after you have passed away.

Estate distribution
The last step in the process of probate is the estate property distribution. All creditors that have a legal and valid claim will generally be compensated in the following order :
1. Full Estate costs to administer
2. Any allowances to the family
3. All funeral and burial expense
4. Any debt and taxes
5. Any and all remaining claims
after distribution if there is any remaining asset this will be distributed to your heirs or beneficiaries that were named in your will. If the likelihood of no will, state law determines the distribution of the remaining property and assets.