San Francisco Probate Lawyers
When someone dies, with a will or intestate (without a will), the estate must pass through a probate proceeding prior to distribution to heirs. Probate serves four functions:
- Provides a process for filing and validating a will
- Takes care of any outstanding debts and taxes that must be paid prior to distribution of the estate to heirs
- Uses a will to determine how the remaining assets should be distributed and, if no will exists, distributes assets based on formulas provided by California law
- Provides a forum whereby anyone with valid claims can contest the will for a variety of reasons
Probate attorneys in San Francisco - How the Probate Process Works
Probate in San Francisco can be a very simple process, provided the estate is not complicated and there are no outstanding debts to consider. In these cases, the executor files a petition to schedule a hearing of the will in probate court. Prior to the hearing, the filing is publicized to allow interested parties to attend. During the hearing, the court reviews the will and, if there are no contests, disputes or other complications, all assets are cleared for transfer to the named heirs.
Considerations that Complicate Probate Litigation
A number of issues can make the probate process considerably more complex:
- Outstanding debt or taxes: When outstanding debt forces the court to liquidate certain assets to repay creditors, it must then find ways to distribute the remaining assets in the most logical manner to uphold the wishes of the deceased
- Will contests: California law defines specific legal grounds as the basis for declaring a will to be invalid. Once the will is determined to be invalid, the court must then determine how to distribute the assets of the estate. If no other will can be shown to be valid, the court must proceed as if the individual died without a will
- No will: California law provides specific formulas and other considerations to be used to determine how an estate should be distributed when no will is in place
When you Need a San Francisco Probate Attorney
In the ideal situation, individuals retain a San Francisco probate law firm when they are ready to start estate planning by writing a will or trust. Clearly, a San Francisco probate attorney experienced in the probate process can create documents that are less likely to go into probate litigation in San Francisco.
Typically, San Francisco probate lawyers assist executors in the probate process. Similarly, anyone who needs to contest a will in probate should engage a skilled attorney, as well. The probate attorneys at Michael B. Bassi, A Law Corporation are well-versed in the specific codes and strategies pertaining to the California laws governing probate.
San Francisco Will or Probate Dispute - Seek Experienced Legal Counsel
If you are involved in a probate, estate, or trust dispute, it is important to seek representation from an attorney with experience handling these complex matters who is familiar with the most recent developments in this dynamic and continually evolving area of law.