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California Probate Lawyer

A California probate lawyer is an integral part of estate planning for residents of the Golden State. Probate is the legal process used to determine the value of estates and to properly distribute assets to heirs and beneficiaries. California probate code is complex; consisting of eleven divisions and hundreds of pages of legal jargon.

California probate lawyers specialize in helping individuals develop estate planning strategies. Some strategies can keep assets out of probate while others reduce or eliminate inheritance taxes. Probate attorneys can help individuals establish payable-on-death and transfer-on-death beneficiaries for investment and banking accounts, automobiles, motorcycles, boats, recreational vehicles, real estate holdings and businesses.

California probate code states estates valued under $100,000 are exempt from probate. However, certain steps must be taken to ensure distribution of assets is properly handled. Individuals must appoint a probate executor to oversee their estate and follow legal protocol.

Probate occurs regardless of whether a will has been executed or not. If a person dies intestate (without a will), a judge appoints an Administrator to oversee the estate during probate. Assets must be distributed according to probate laws. The only way to assure assets are given to intended beneficiaries is through the execution of a legal will.

Many people procrastinate about estate planning. Some people believe they do not own sufficient assets, while others believe estate planning is reserved for the wealthy. Nearly everyone has personal belongings of some sort. Whether it be a piece of valuable jewelry, a car, or collection of vintage clothing, executing a Will guarantees designated beneficiaries will receive personal belongings and sentimental items in the event of your death.

Experts recommend interviewing several California probate lawyers. Keep in mind your loved ones will be working with the attorney throughout the probate process. It is important to choose someone who matches the personality of your chosen probate personal representative and family members. There is nothing worse than working with a drone-lawyer when grieving the loss of a loved one.

Individuals who require the services of a California probate lawyer to administer the estate of someone who has recently died may not have the luxury of interviewing several attorneys. However, probate generally takes several months to complete so there is no need to rush in and hire an attorney who is incompatible with your needs.

If you need to hire a probate attorney quickly, consider asking friends, relatives or co-workers for a referral. California probate lawyers can also be located in phone books and through the American Bar Association. Although the ABA does not make recommendations, the organization can help locate attorneys in good standing.

Engaging in estate planning while you are healthy can provide peace of mind later on. Through estate planning individuals can execute a legal will, designate power of attorney privileges and establish healthcare directives. Should you become medically incapacitated or unexpectedly die, your wishes will be available to those you leave in charge.

We encourage you to browse our probate article database and learn more about the probate process, designating probate executors, estate planning, inheritance and executing a last will and testament. To receive notification when new articles are added, enter your email address in the subscription box located in the upper right corner of this page.

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Published on May 05, 2009 at 02:11 AM

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