Beginning the Probate Process: What Are Your First Steps?

It is possible to leave all of your property to others in such as a way as to avoid the California probate courts. However, many California estates do go through the probate process, which does not have to be overwhelming or intimidating. Instead, if you are the executor of the estate, or another interested party, then it is important to know how to get started and how to take the proper steps.

First Things First

Before you can begin the work of settling the estate and fulfilling your function as executor or administrator of the will, it is important to:

  • File with the probate court. Specifically, you should file a Petition for Probate and a copy of the will in the probate court in the county where your loved one lived. You will also need to pay a filing fee and submit any other forms that are required.
  • Provide notice to the interested parties. This includes anyone named in the estate and close family members.
  • Have the will declared valid. Often, this requires a sworn statement by the witnesses to the will.
  • Obtain confirmation that the court has appointed you as the will’s executor and has given you authority of the estate assets.

Once these initial steps have been completed then you can begin your formal work as executor and take the necessary actions, with and without the probate court, to settle the estate.

Don’t Let the Process Intimidate You

Your friend or loved one named you as executor for a reason: he had faith in you and believed that you were the best person to make sure that his wishes were implemented after his death. You can do this, and you can get help if you need it. For more information, please watch our free videos and start a live chat with us today.

 

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm