Do You Have to Do Probate When Someone Dies?
- June 8, 2020 - Trust Litigation,
Do you have to do probate when someone dies?
When someone in your family dies in California, you do not have to do probate unless they die without a will. This is called dying “intestate.” A Sacramento, California, estate litigation attorney can help you draft a will and/or create an estate plan to prevent your family from going through probate.
People sometimes believe that they do not need a will unless they are wealthy or own significant assets. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Creating a will or estate plan not only provides a roadmap for the distribution of your possessions after you die – even if they are modest assets – but also spares surviving family members from having to endure the time-consuming and costly process of probate. Creating an estate plan can be a gift that you give your family after you die.
So, if you’re asking yourself, “do you have to do probate when someone dies?”, the technical answer is “no, unless the person dies without a will.” But a deeper discussion is worthy of your time. To learn more about probate and estate plans, call a Sacramento, California, estate litigation attorney at Hackard Law Firm. For a free initial consultation, call us at (916) 313-3030.
Do you always need probate?
The answer to “do you always need probate?” is no. Most often, avoiding probate is desirable. Dying intestate can be a difficult and expensive process for surviving family members. It can also give rise to estate litigation and will contests because division of assets is decided by a judge, and plaintiffs can argue that the judge’s ruling misconstrues the wishes of the deceased. An intestate estate is also one in which the written will presented to the court is ruled invalid because of fraud, undue influence or other reasons.
A Sacramento, California, estate litigation attorney can represent you if, as a potential beneficiary or family member, you believe you have wrongly been left out of a will through misinterpretation or believe that the administrator of a deceased person’s trust is mishandling assets.
Do you have to go through probate in CA if someone dies?
No, and having a judge — who does not know the deceased and has little insight into their wishes – is rarely the best route to take. A probate judge has no emotional attachment to the deceased and can only follow the law, which may or may not reflect the personal wishes of the deceased when distributing their assets. That’s why it’s so important to create a will and estate plan before you die. It gives you the opportunity to reflect, plan, and proactively decide who should inherit your real estate, money, jewelry, retirement savings and other assets. It also gives you the opportunity to sit down with your family and explain your wishes while you’re still living and in good health. In this way, you can avoid stress and arguments among family members after you die.
If you are looking for a Sacramento, California, estate litigation attorney because you want to contest a will, create an estate plan or learn more about probate, contact us at (916) 313-3030. The initial consultation is free.
Do you have to do probate when your spouse dies?
This is a good question. Typically you do not have to do probate when your spouse dies if he or she has a will. Probate is generally reserved for people who die without a will in California. There are many good reasons to avoid probate, not the least of which is saving money and time.
Sometimes, dying without a will just happens. It may be that a person died suddenly or quite young, and no one contemplated the need for a will. Estate planning may be one of those things on your list that you intend to get around to eventually, but other pressing and immediate needs prevent you from doing so. Delaying the act of creating a will is easy but rarely desirable. Also, creating a will and estate plan is not hard. A Sacramento, California, estate litigation attorney can help you do this and answer your questions. They can also represent you in contesting a will, estate litigation and trust litigation. Hackard law Firm also represents clients in cases involving trust accounting and elder financial abuse.
How long do you have to do probate after a death?
If you’re asking how long do you have to do probate after death, California law says a family member or the deceased’s representative has to complete probate within one year unless he or she files a federal estate tax. In that case, you can have 18 months to complete probate. A Sacramento, California, estate litigation attorney can help you sort through this process and explain the law that applies.
Contact a Sacramento Estate Litigation Attorney Today
If you or a family member dies without a will, the estate will most likely go through probate. This can be difficult for surviving family members, especially if you feel the will is invalid. This is when you need a Sacramento, California, estate litigation attorney to argue for your rights as a beneficiary. You may also need an estate litigation lawyer if the estate has a trustee who is misusing funds. Wills, trusts and estate plans are a legal area that you almost always need a skilled and experienced attorney to navigate. It’s rarely a good idea to create a will or trust without the help of a Sacramento, California, estate litigation attorney. To learn more about how Hackard Law Firm can help you, your family and others understand the law or contest a will, call us at (916) 313-3030. The initial consultation is free. We are here to help, and accurate information can empower you.