Orange County Probate Lawyer in Laguna Hills Helps to Simplify the Probate Process
Experienced attorney guides you through probate
At Genevieve Wall, A Law Corporation in Laguna Hills, I have spent more than three decades capably handling probate and other estate planning matters for the residents of Southern California. Probate, the court process that validates a will, can be both time-consuming and stressful, but it needn't be. My experience and skill enables me to guide you through the process efficiently and effectively. I have helped countless clients successfully navigate probate for the estate of a relative or friend.
Does my estate need to be probated?
In California, many estates go through probate court, even when there is a will. Probate courts serve to ensure that the estate is valued fairly and accurately that debts and bills owed by the estate are paid, and that the estate is liquidated and distributed in accordance with the decedent's wishes. The probate process helps protect the estate from fraud and helps protect the interests of the heirs.
If one or more heirs dispute the will, or if someone not named in the will makes a claim on part or all of the estate, the dispute might end in court for a judge to resolve. Probate litigation can be lengthy, stressful and expensive.
What is the probate process in California?
In probate, the court oversees the process of preparing a listing or inventory of a deceased person's estate and paying off any bills, loans or other debts. Then, the estate is closed and can be distributed. When there is a will, any trusts specified in the will must be established, and estate assets must be distributed as the will requests.
To probate an estate in California, an executor must follow these general steps:
- File the will and a Petition for Probate document with the county probate court.
- Demonstrate to the court that the will is valid.
- Receive from the probate court Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration, which authorize the person to perform executor duties.
- Establish an estate banking account.
- Inventory the estate assets and obtain appraisals for real estate, collectibles, jewelry and other valuables.
- File the inventory with the probate court.
- Identify debtors.
- Pay taxes and pay off all bills.
- Resolve any disputes.
- Protect all estate assets.
- Request the probate court to close the estate.
When the probate judge approves closing the estate, the executor can distribute the remaining assets. If there is a will, those assets must be distributed according to the wishes expressed in the will.
How can a probate attorney help?
As you can see from the process listed above, probate has many specific steps that must be followed and documented, and the documentation must be submitted to the probate judge. Probate administration can take several months to a year — or longer, if the estate is complicated, if records are poor, or if one or more heirs dispute the will. This is why it is important to hire an experienced estate lawyer, such as Genevieve Wall to handle probate for your estate. I am familiar with each step in the process, know how to prepare the documentation properly, and handle any surprises that might arise. I help avoid unnecessary delays, leading to a quicker distribution of assets.
To schedule a free initial consultation on probating an estate, contact my office today
Probate can seem complicated and overwhelming, but I have more than three decades of experience in probate administration and estate planning. I will guide you through the process. Call me at 949.859.0861 or contact me online for a free initial consultation to discuss your probate concerns. Set in the Laguna Hills Civic Center, City Hall building, my office serves clients from throughout Orange County and Southern California. My office has free parking, and it is accessible by public transportation. My office hours are flexible: I can schedule a time convenient for you.
"I have worked with Genevieve over the past ten years since my mother's stroke. She helped me with advanced directives, power of attorney, and through the probate stages. As executor of the estate, I was able to rely on her guidance throughout the process."
–5.0 Rating ★★★★★
"Ms. Wall has been of great assistance in competently preparing our family trusts and assisting with all matters pertaining to the recent death of my mother in law. She is the best example of the professionalism and care for clients that characterizes a great attorney and counselor."
–5.0 Rating ★★★★★