What is the Probate Process?

If you’ve ever written a will or begun the process, you have likely heard the word: probate. It’s not always a word with bad connotations. In some cases, it may even be helpful. The team at Marcia Campbell, CPA is committed to helping California residents with questions about probate.

Learn more about what the probate process is and get details on what happens when a will is and isn’t involved.

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process that locates and determines the value of a decedent’s assets, pays their final bills and taxes, and distributes the remainder of the estate to the rightful beneficiaries. 

It falls on the executor of a will to prove the will’s authenticity and present the court with a list of items such as the deceased’s property, unpaid debt, and inheritance. Only then will creditors and relatives be notified of the remaining assets.

Executor: Named in the will, or is appointed by a judge (if no will exists).

Related Article: Probate: What is it and When Do You Need It?

Probate Without a Will

Probate without a will is complicated and may be difficult for a family. If a person dies without a will, their assets are in an intestacy state meaning the deceased’s assets become the responsibility of the probate court. The court will select a person to be a personal representative to handle the distribution of the deceased’s assets. 

Probate With a Will

Probate with a will takes careful planning but provides a smoother experience for all involved. An executor is typically named in the will, and it is this person who begins the probate process. The person named executor is chosen by the deceased. This is less of a burden on families as responsibilities are handled by the executor.

Related Article: A Beginner’s Guide to Trusts and Trust Accounting

The Probate Process

In both cases, the assets of a person with or without a will inevitably go through the probate process. It is only a matter of how smooth the process is after a person dies – unless you avoid probate altogether. Without a will, probate can be costly and upsetting for families. 

Another way to reduce the stress of probate is to set up a trust to distribute assets. A trust is a fine option to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of. A trust does not normally have to go through probate.

Have a question about probate or trusts? Schedule time with Marcia Campbell, CPA. 

If you need help, please contact us by filling out our Contact Form or by giving our office a call at +1(951)686-3608.

As the most experienced CPA in the Inland Empire who specializes in working with seniors, Marcia L. Campbell is committed to helping each client thrive by caring for their personal and financial wellbeing with genuine interest, well-established expertise, and a focus on respectful partnerships. Marcia’s team specializes in a number of services including elder & financial care, court & trust accountings as well as private fiduciary and tax services. At Marcia L. Campbell, CPA, we understand the importance of our clients’ individual needs and are committed to helping them make the best personal and financial decisions for their future.

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