Probate is a widely misunderstood legal process. Without the proper insight, you may not understand the ramifications of a poorly-planned estate or no estate.
When you die, your estate may need to go through probate court under California law. This is to ensure someone follows the instructions in your will. What else happens during probate? Become familiar with the ins and outs of this process so you can plan your estate accordingly.
Do debts get paid before heirs?
One aspect of probate is debt payment. After the process begins, your executor sends out notices to all known creditors and publishes notifications to the public. This allows anyone who believes they have a claim to money from you gets heard by the court. Once the court gathers information on all creditors, your executor starts to repay legitimate claims.
Can the executor expedite probate?
Leaving your executor a comprehensive plan for what to do with your estate, including passwords and all the information that may make their job easier. This may help speed the process up and avoid surprise claims to your will that make it harder for a judge to clear.
How do loved ones make it through?
If your estate plan leaves money to loved ones, you may want to diversify it beyond the bounds of your will. Part of this is due to the time that may elapse between the start of probate and when funds disburse to heirs. If your family depends on your money to move forward after your death, you may want to consider diversifying your estate plan to include a trust. This type of account does not go through probate and instead passes directly to whomever you designate.
Preparing for your death by planning it and helping your family get through it may put your mind at ease moving forward.