What Can You Expect With The Death of A Spouse or Parent

James Zakasky
An estate attorney who goes beyond drafting wills and creating trusts

Probate Expectations

Either your spouse or your last remaining parent dies. It is a very tough time, you have to deal with funeral arrangements, death certificates, family members and all the property that has been left behind. If the person had a will, the will need to be logged with court and a probate proceeding will need to begin. If the person had no will but owned real estate certain retirement plans and possibly cash in bank accounts a probate proceeding will need to begin to determine who will inherit the property. If the person had a trust, the trust will need to be administered and distributed under court supervision all of which should be spelled out according to the trust.

If you have to probate your loved one’s estate the process can take up to 24 months and cost anywhere to 10 to 50K depending on the value of the Estate itself. In California you will need to file a petition for probate, Letters to Administer, Notice of Probate to all potential Heirs, and Duties and Liabilities just to name a few. You will also need to run a publication in the local newspaper of the administration of the Estate. All paperwork needs to be presented in triplicate with one original and two copies. There is usually a fee for filing that runs as of this date $465.00. There is also a fee for publication that the Newspaper charges that runs anywhere from 100 to 300 Dollars depending on the publication. If you get all the paperwork correct and in time the court should issue the Letters that will allow either you or your Attorney to prepare your Estate for Transfer to the Beneficiaries. This process includes an appraisal, sale of property and final report of distribution along with an order that will distribute the property. After that is all approved by the court you will need to file either the order fir probate or an order along with a new Deed establishing the ownership rights by official recording.

There can be other hurdles like the sale of real property or dealing with an unknown child of the decedent (please see article Fillius Nullius) or a lost will or abandoned trust just to name a few. On the other hand, there may be very few issues and the property is very straight forward and you may not need to probate the estate (please see article property that does not need to be probated). In any case you should have an Attorney review your particular situation. At The Law Office of James A. Zakasky I will personally review your situation and explain the process either face to face or over the phone for FREE.

It has been reported that over half of Americans will die without some type of Estate Planning device (Will or Trust). This puts over 150 Million in jeopardy of never passing their property on to their spouse or children. Even worse yet the Government will control your fate with Attorney’s taking a big chunk of your Estate in the form of Fees (Please see article CA Statutory Fees). Take control of your LIFE and don’t be that person that left it up to the Government and Attorneys to decide their families fate. 

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