Are you looking for an experienced Los Angeles Probate Attorney? Susan Geffen is an established California probate lawyer that can help you with your probate needs.
What is Probate Court?
The probate court in Los Angeles is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims, and distributing the deceased person’s property under a will. The Los Angeles probate court determines the legal validity of a testator’s will and grants its approval by granting probate to the executor. The probated will become a legal document that may be enforced by the executor in the courts if necessary.
A Los Angeles probate also officially appoints the executor (or personal representative), generally named in the will, as having legal power to dispose of the testator’s assets in the manner specified in the testator’s will. A will may be contested during the probate process in probate court. Partnering with an experienced Los Angeles County probate attorney, like Susan B. Geffen, will benefit you in many ways.
Probate Court Lawyer
As an experienced probate lawyer, Susan can work with you to create a solid estate plan to prepare for the inevitable event of your death. But beyond that valuable service, a probate attorney like Susan can handle matters for your family after you have died. Depending on the circumstances of your estate at the time of your death, there can be different needs that require an experienced and compassionate legal professional.
- What Happens When There is a Legal Will?
- If you have worked with Susan or another estate planning attorney to create and record a will, you will first need a probate attorney to open a probate case with the court. The probate attorney can then help your family and/or designated executor through each step of the probate process. This can include advice on handling your affairs in the proper order to prevent problems, as well as drafting and filing documents, communicating with court officials, other family members, beneficiaries, debtors or creditors.
- An experienced Los Angeles probate attorney, like Susan Geffen, can make this process much smoother for families by handling the many details and all official communications. Plus, if the designated executor has no experience in these matters, they will need a seasoned attorney to guide them through the process. Losing a loved one is difficult enough without compounding your pain with numerous legal steps and processes. You will be grateful for how Susan can handle these details while you begin the recovery process.
Avoid Probate Problems in Los Angeles
Some of the most troublesome problems that arise during probate stem from a will that was never updated. Over time, life circumstances often change, necessitating a change to your will. Common changes can include:
- Divorce and/or remarriage
- Death of a spouse
- Birth or death of children
- Gaining or losing assets
- Accumulation of debts
Any changes in your life circumstances should be reflected in your will. This will prevent problems and disputes when your will is probated. Susan recommends that everyone review their will at least once a year, and more often as circumstances change. Contact Los Angeles probate lawyer Susan Geffen today to create or review a will.
Probate Court in Los Angeles with No Will?
In Los Angeles, when a person passes away without a will, their estate is typically subject to the probate process. Probate is the legal procedure through which the court oversees the distribution of a deceased person’s assets and settles any outstanding debts. If a loved one has passed away without a will in Los Angeles, call probate attorney Susan Geffen for experienced legal advice.
- If you die intestate, or without a will, the process is much more complicated and stressful. In this case, the probate court will designate a representative to handle your probate matters according to the laws of California. Unfortunately, since your wishes were not recorded, they cannot be known. This means that your assets and other matters are handled by strangers that do not know you or your family.
This is when a probate attorney, like Susan, can be a special asset. She can become your family’s legal representative who works with the estate administrator to handle your affairs. There will be many legal considerations, and likely some disagreements. Susan Geffen has over 30 years of probate law experience, working with families to get a loved one’s assets from the probate process.
Below is an overview of the probate court process in Los Angeles when there is no will:
- Petition for probate: A family member, beneficiary, or interested party initiates the probate process by filing a petition with the probate court in the county where the deceased person resided. The petition requests the court to appoint an administrator to oversee the estate administration.
- Appointment of administrator: The court reviews the petition and appoints an administrator to act as the personal representative of the estate. The administrator is typically a close family member, such as a surviving spouse, adult child, or another interested party.
- Inventory and appraisal: The administrator is responsible for locating and creating an inventory of the deceased person’s assets. They may need to hire an appraiser to determine the value of certain assets, such as real estate or valuable personal property.
- Notice to creditors and beneficiaries: The administrator must provide notice to known creditors of the deceased person and publish a notice in a local newspaper to notify unknown creditors. Creditors then have a specific period, typically four months, to make claims against the estate.
- Payment of debts and taxes: The administrator uses the assets from the estate to pay any outstanding debts, including taxes, funeral expenses, and other valid claims. The administrator must ensure that all necessary tax filings, such as income taxes and estate taxes, are completed and any owed taxes are paid.
- Distribution of assets: Once all debts and taxes have been paid, the administrator petitions the court for permission to distribute the remaining assets to the heirs or beneficiaries according to California’s intestate succession laws. These laws determine the order of priority for distributing the assets among the deceased person’s surviving family members.
- Final accounting and closing the estate: The administrator prepares a final accounting, which details all the financial transactions of the estate, including income, expenses, and distributions. The court reviews the accounting, approves it, and issues an order to close the estate.
It’s important to note that the probate process can be time-consuming and costly. Consulting with an experienced probate attorney like Susan Geffen who handles probate law cases in Los Angeles can save you from making critical and costly mistakes along the way. Susan can provide valuable guidance and assistance throughout the process, ensuring compliance with the relevant laws and expediting the administration of the estate.