Probate Attorney

Finalizing a deceased’s estate following their death.

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The probate process can be highly complex depending on a number of circumstances. After a loved one’s passing, family members are best served working with an attorney who understands how to make the process as fluid and efficient as possible.

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Randal P. Hannah, Probate Attorney in Upland, CA.

Probate is process that transfers a deceased person’s (the Decedent) assets to his or her spouse, children or other heirs.

The reasons for Probate, the steps necessary to transfer assets through Probate and a few of the exceptions that allow assets to pass without Probate are summarized below.

Probate is generally necessary when a deceased person dies while owning assets, such as a house, bank accounts or other property. Since property does not transfer automatically, the heirs (usually a child of the deceased) must ask the Court to transfer the property. The process of making this request and obtaining a Court order is called Probate.

The Probate process usually takes 6 – 10 months. There are two ways that an Estate can be admitted to Probate. If a deceased person died without aWill, the Estate is admitted to probate as an Intestate Estate. If a deceased person died with a Will, the Probate will be based on the Will and is a Testate Estate. Either way, with or without a Will, the Estate can only be transferred through the Probate.

Probate generally consists of three steps.

First, a Petition is filed with the Court asking the Judge to open Probate and appoint an Executor to handle the Estate of the person who passed away. This process includes publishing notice, usually in a newspaper, and giving notice of the proceeding to all of the children and other heirs of the person who passed away.

The second part of Probate is to identify and gather all of the decedent’s assets. Those assets can be used to negotiate and pay off any debts of the Decedent.

The third part of the Probate process is a petition, filed with the Court asking the Court to make an Order allowing the Executor to distribute the Estate to the heirs of the Decedent.

As a part of this process, the Executor will prepare and account, itemizing the Decedent’s assets and any income and expenses incurred in the process of administering the Estate.

It is important to file the appropriate documents with the Court and to appear in front of a Judge as soon as possible. The documents filed with the Court can be intimidating. In addition to the petitions, inventories and other information required by the Court, the Executor must also obtain property valuations, maintain separate accounts for the Estate and keep the Court informed of information required by the state of California.

An attorney can assist you by reviewing the information required by the Court, preparing the appropriate documents and making appearances in Court on your behalf.

As referenced above, there are some exceptions to the requirement that an Estate be submitted to the Court for Probate. For example, if the decedent’s home and other assets have a value of less than $150,000.00, it may be possible to transfer the Estate as “Small Estate”. This process has a few complexities and may require an attorney’s assistance. A second exception to Probate exists when the Decedent executed aTrustprior to death. The process of administering a Trust is completely different from probate and does not normally require Court intervention.

Randal P. Hannah

Attorney at Law

489 N. Central Ave. 

Upland California 91786 

Tel: (909) 608-1220

Fax: (909) 608-1222


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