The Probate Process in Los Angeles Explained.

When a loved one passes away things can be tough, and you wouldn’t want that to get complicated with the legal hassle of probate court. However, if the deceased didn’t go through the proper steps for estate planning, you might not have a choice, especially if the value of the estate is more than $150,000.

The easiest solution here is to call on the help of a probate attorney in Los Angeles who can help walk you through the whole process. But to help you prepare, we’re here to explain the probate process in Los Angeles.

What is probate?

Simply put, probate it the legal process of distributing the assets of a person who passes away to their heirs and beneficiaries. Even if they had a will, the assets that were owned will need to be probated. There are some exceptions to this, but we’ll get into that later.

What’s the probate process in Los Angeles like?

To start the probate process in LA, the executor of the decedent’s estate has to file a petition for probate. Today, you can do online e-filing, so you can submit all required documents through the Los Angeles Superior court website. After it’s filed a hearing will be scheduled, usually 30-70 days from filing.

During this time, you must publish the probate hearing date in a local newspaper or publication to give notice of the petition to heirs and others who may have a claim over the estate. You may also be required to mail notices of the probate hearing directly to the different heirs and beneficiaries.

When you have the case number, check back often to see if the probate examiner has reviewed the petition and if they posted any probate notes. Probate notes are just clarifications or requests for more information about your probate petition. You can address these by submitting a supplement to your petition prior to your hearing. You won’t be able to get your petition approved until all notes are cleared.

If there is a will, you may also need to prove its validity to make sure that the decedent wasn’t coerced, mentally incompetent, or unduly influenced to sign it. Sometimes a will may be self-validating, meaning there is specific wording at the bottom of the will.

After appearing in court, clearing all notes, and validating the will, you should have your petition approved. The executor will collect and evaluate all the assets. They must gather all the items and take inventory to ensure that all property is accounted for. They will then oversee valuation of the estate as well as if titles of certain assets must be transferred.

When all assets have been accounted for and valued, creditors will be paid with a portion of the estate. These payments may include credit card balances, bills, and funeral expenses. Throughout this process you will also have to update the court on the administration of the estate.

When all debts are paid, the remaining portion will be distributed according to the will and all other issues will be dealt with. A final accounting of the estate will be filed with the court and a petition will be drafted at the conclusion of the estate. This petition will be a summary of the probate process and distribution of the estate.

How to avoid probate in LA

The probate process in LA can be long and complicated, often lasting anywhere from 6 months to 2 years while involving a lot of tedious work. There are a couple of exceptions to assets that have to be probated such as when assets have a beneficiary designation, assets that are owned jointly and have a right of survivorship, assets that are owned by a decedent’s trust, or if the entire estate is worth less than $150,000.

All of these however will require prior preparation, sometimes even before a person passes away. That’s why it’s best to get the help of a probate attorney in Los Angeles who can help on how to avoid probate in LA and plan your estate before your time. They even assist your surviving family through the probate process.

If you’re looking for a probate attorney in Los Angeles, look no further than The Law Offices of R. Grace Rodriguez. We can help you and your family through the probate process in LA and even assist in planning your estate in such a way that your heirs and beneficiaries avoid probate altogether. Call us today and learn how we can help and support you for probate administration.

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