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estate administration & probate Archives

Take wise steps with an unexpected inheritance

When a loved one dies in California, the beneficiary of a will needs to take a few important steps. The first step is to contact the executor or appointed administrator of the decedent's estate. It is important to ask the executor for a copy of the person's will and read the fine details.

Seven tips that can get executors on track

California residents who have been designated as executors of an estate will want to consider the following tips toward making the process easier. As long as the executor is methodical and organized, the tips will not be hard to follow.

How to get through probate

California requires that certain property go through the probate process. This process ensures that any will a person has is valid and that a personal representative for the estate is appointed. If an individual did not have a will, he or she is said to have died intestate. The same is true if the document is declared invalid because of an error or because of a successful challenge.

Filing a probate claim when estates are contested

A major goal for many California estate holders is to prevent probate issues after their passing. However, when issues arise with a will after a person's death, the primary way to resolve the dispute is by filing a probate claim. Once the estate of the deceased individual has been entered into probate, a person making a claim can file a statement with the court that is handling the estate's probate process.

Estate planning and avoiding probate

When creating an estate plan, California residents can often save time and money by avoiding the probate process. While many states have streamlined their probate processes, probating a will can still be disruptive to the distribution of an estate. Another disadvantage of the probate system is that the court records are public.

Handling digital accounts for deceased loved ones

One aspect of estate planning California residents may not pay attention to is that of their digital footprint. Thanks to the policies of tech companies and confusing laws, it can be difficult for surviving loved ones to deal with the online records left behind by a loved one.

Advice for principals considering powers of attorney

California residents who are considering how their estates will be managed if they become incapacitated might want to execute a power of attorney. An individual, called the principal, creates this document to designate a trusted party, called the agent, to attend to financial matters if illness or injury prevents the principal from performing the duties. An individual should never sign this document if feeling pressured or lacking comfort with its terms. In some cases, financial professionals, relatives or friends pressure people into naming them as agents so that they can take elderly people's money.

How to serve as an executor

California residents who are named as executors of estates will have multiple duties to perform. They should take the time that they need to make certain that they appropriately administer the estates for which they are responsible. If they make errors, they may be personally liable to the beneficiaries.

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