The good news when it comes to hiring a probate lawyer to represent you in Court is that, generally, the fees are set by law. That is, probate lawyers can generally only charge a "Statutory Fee" for regular legal services which are set at the value of the Estate, identical to the statutory fees of the personal representative. Additionally, the fees are not paid in advance, but only after the Probate process is complete, and are paid out of the proceeds of the estate. You are entitled to a free consultation to determine approximately how much the fees will be. If you believe you are in need of legal counsel in a probate matter, call today at (559) 636-8122 to make an appointment for your free consultation.
When a resident of California passes away, California Law mandates that their combined assets (known as their "estate") be put through a process known as Probate. Their assets must be collected and accounted for, and their final debts must be paid with these assets. Then, the person's remaining assets may be distributed to their heirs and beneficiaries according to their final will. Alternatively, if the person passed away without a will, their assets are divided among their surviving relatives according the the laws of Intestate Succession. This administration is conducted by the personal representative, who is either named in the will or is a relative of the deceased who may petition the Court to be appointed. The entire process is overseen from start to finish by the Probate Court.
The Probate process can be a long, trying and difficult process. It requires a great deal of time and personal effort to go to Court, obtain the authority to handle your loved one's affairs, and make payments to creditors and distribute the remaining assets and funds to beneficiaries. Taking on the responsibility of being the personal representative of your deceased loved one's estate is no small task. As personal representative, you will have several duties imposed on you by the Court. If you fail to uphold these duties, the Court may find you liable for such failure, with such liabilities including being personally responsible for paying your deceased loved one's debts if they are not properly accounted for. Additionally, if there is a dispute by a relative of the deceased person as to the validity of that person's will, it may be necessary to defend it against a will contest. It is therefore advisable that you seek assistance to avoid any harsh legal pitfalls. The attorneys of the Law Office of Scott Lyons Attorney at Law are happy to assist and ease the burdens, and to make these processes as easy as possible.
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If a loved one has passed away leaving behind valuable assets (whether it is land, valuable personal property, or cash), it will need to be handed down to their heirs according to their last will and testament, or according to state law if they left no will. If you have been named as your loved one's executor in the will, you may become the personal representative of the Estate. This allows you to manage your loved one's final affairs, pay off their debts, and distribute their property according to their final wishes or state law. Additionally, as the personal representative, you may be entitled to statutory fees to compensate you for your time and effort depending on the value of the deceased loved one's estate. However, the property cannot be distributed legally until you have been granted legal authority by the Court. The process of administrating the estate of a deceased loved one can be extremely complex, daunting (both mentally and emotionally) and time-consuming without the help of legal counsel experienced in the area of Probate law. The lawyers at the Law Office of Scott Lyons Attorney at Law are able and willing to help you through this process, acting as your attorneys on your behalf in order to make the process as smooth as possible.
In California, Probate is only mandatory if the person who passed away left an estate with assets having a combined total value exceeding $150,000.00, or owned a piece of real estate with a fair market value exceeding $50,000.00. Some assets are kept out of the Probate process entirely and do not count towards the total value of the deceased person's estate. This includes property held in joint tenancy with "right of survivorship", property held in a trust, or property that passes through "beneficiary designation" such as life insurance and retirement accounts with named beneficiaries who are still alive. It is important to consult with a Probate Lawyer to determine what assets must pass through probate and which assets can be distributed outside of probate. The Lawyers at the Law Office of Scott Lyons Attorney at Law are just the attorneys to give such guidance.
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