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When California Probate Law & Corporate Law Collide

California Probate Law Business Litigation

California probate lawyers know that many estates include corporation stock, limited liability company (LLC) membership interests and general, limited and limited liability partnership (LLP) interests. How does a California probate court oversee the sale, distribution or transfer of the ownership interests of these business entities? Can the corporation, LLC, LLP or general or limited partnership do business while a probate or estate proceeding is pending? As experienced trust and probate attorneys, we regularly address the issues arising from the mix of corporate and probate law. We guide family members and business associates in the efficient and effective transfers of estate interests.

General Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships, Limited Partnership, LLC and Corporations: there are several questions to pose when a probate litigation case might intersect with California corporate law:

  • Are these business interests subject of California probate litigation?
  • Since business entities themselves can't be probated, how is it that a deceased person's ownership interests in theses entities go through or avoid estate administration?
  • Are business interests in a Superior Court probate proceeding subject to buy-sell arrangements and contractual obligations made before the decedent's death?
  • If a California trust owns a corporate, LLC or partnership interest, must a probate still be opened?
  • If a trustee owns the ownership interest of the business entity, does he or she have the power to take over the business?
  • If an executor or administrator has been court appointed to hold the ownership interest of the business entity, does he or she have the power to take over the business?
  • Can the trustee, executor or administrator sell the decedent's business without the approval of the Probate Division of the Superior Court?

A capable and experienced estate and trust attorney can answer all of the above questions. These questions should be addressed as part of an estate plan and must surely be addressed during an estate administration. Failure to plan for these issues or the mishandling of the issues during an estate administration may result in estate litigation - something that is is not the best outcome of careful estate planning. That said, probate litigation can be a method of last resort for righting a wrong or saving the financial interests of heirs or beneficiaries. If you are facing a probate or trust matter that includes corporate and business law issues, don't hesitate to call Hackard Law today at 916-313-3030. Our top priority is protecting clients.

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