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San Francisco Wills & Probate Law Firm

How to Probate a Will in San Francisco

When a valid will is in place, probating a will in San Francisco for a debt-free, uncomplicated estate can be a simple administrative process.  Unfortunately, many complications can arise that threaten the future you carefully planned for your loved ones.  This is why it is so important that you seek legal support.  Your attorney must have experience preparing a solid will and probating a will in San Francisco courts.

Wills and Probate in San Francisco

Every estate protected by a will is required by San Francisco probate law to pass through probate before the estate is divided and distributed to the heirs named in the will.  The role of a probate court is to ensure the following:

  • That any outstanding debt is repaid creditors to the fullest extent possible
  • That the will is legally valid and not fraudulent, such as might be the case if the document was executed under duress
  • That rightful heirs who may be unnamed in the will are protected
  • That the provisions of the will are carried out fairly, particularly when debt repayment reduced available assets prior to distribution

What started as a simple administrative process can quickly become a series of will contests and complex legal proceedings involving multiple players.  Before January 1, 2010, a no contest clause in the will could have eliminated many claims against the will in probate, but this provision has been repealed, increasing the possibility of successful will contests in San Francisco probate court.

What to Expect During the San Francisco Probate Process

At the highest level, the probate process in San Francisco is essentially a two-step process:

  • Step 1:  An executor, who is appointed as part of the will-writing process, files a petition requesting that a probate court hear the will.  In addition to publishing notice in a local newspaper, letters are also sent to anyone who is likely to be interested in the proceedings
  • Step 2:  Once entered into the San Francisco probate process, wills are examined by the court to determine if they are valid and if any complications, such as outstanding debt, need to be addressed before assets are distributed to the heirs.  This is also the time when anyone can contest the will on certain grounds defined by San Francisco law

It is important to note that will contests are heard by the courts in much the same way as issues are heard in the civil courts, requiring evidence to prove each side of the case.  All involved parties need attorneys experienced in San Francisco probate litigation to ensure the best possible results for their cases.

Seek Experienced Legal Counsel

At Michael B. Bassi, A Law Corporation, our San Francisco wills and probate attorneys have experience handling a wide variety of trust, estate, and probate issues.  To speak to one of our attorneys and learn how we can successfully resolve your legal matter, contact Michael B. Bassi, A Law Corporation today. 

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