Whether or not you have a will, your estate will go through probate. Probate is a court proceeding that formally distributes the assets from an estate when a person dies. Assets will include any property, bank accounts, investment accounts, and more. During the probate process, the court will examine the validity of the will and determine who will be the executor. Probate can be a very frustrating time, and can take years. Plus, it’s very costly.
During probate proceedings the assets in an estate are frozen, meaning you cannot use them. Even though the estate is frozen, the executor is still responsible for paying debts and taxes, which can often be very difficult because of the large amount of expenses.
Yes, probate is a pain. The good news is that there are ways to avoid probate – one of which is to set up a California living trust. If the size of an estate doesn’t warrant a trust, having a properly drafted will can help probate these proceedings run quicker and smoother. Proper preparation pays off immensely when dealing with estate planning. You will be happy you took the steps you did to prepare.