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Understanding the probate process

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2021 | Estate Planning

When someone dies in California, there is a good chance that part, if not all, of the decedent’s estate, will go through probate. This is the process in which there is a management and closing of the decedent’s estate.

The individual with the biggest responsibilities during probate is the estate executor. This person has a variety of duties and must follow the instructions laid out in the will.

Basics of probate

According to the California Courts, most estates will go through probate court, unless their value is less than $166,250. Assets that do not go through probate include those that have named beneficiaries, those in which there are joint owners, those in a living trust and those with a transfer-on-death deed.

One of the first steps is to determine who will manage the estate. The will may name this person, who would be the executor, or the court will name an individual to be the administrator.

The job of the executor

According to CNBC, the executor’s role is important. Considering that it can take between nine and 18 months to close an estate, this individual must have the time to spend on the various tasks. The executor must locate and safeguard all listed assets, inform the named heirs and contact creditors. In the meantime, this person must maintain any property, such as keep up with lawn work, find a home for the decedent’s pets, take in the mail and keep the interior clean.

The executor must pay the estate’s bills as well as any of its debts. The executor also receives compensation for his or her role, and this comes from the estate itself. The executor must file taxes for the estate and pay any taxes due. After the settling of all financial liabilities, the executor will distribute assets to the respective heirs. After this, the court can officially close the estate.