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Here's what happens if you have to go to through probate

If a loved one has passed away, then you might be someone who has to deal with the probate process. If you haven't heard of it before, then it might sound daunting. However, good guidance can get you through it without feeling like you've been through a war zone.

There are a few different things that happen during the probate process. Here's a breakdown of what to expect.

1. The judge first reviews the submitted will

When a person dies, the will is submitted to court. Then, a judge reviews it to make sure it's authentic and valid. This hearing allows for people to speak up if they do or do not think the will should be valid. This could be due to someone else having a recent version of the will or another person being concerned about the person's mental state at the time of the last will update. The judge has to listen carefully to decide what happens.

2. A personal representative or executor is appointed

Next, a personal representative or executor is appointed to the estate. It is this person's job to make sure the probate process goes smoothly and that the estate is settled appropriately.

Prior to accepting this role, some executors have to post bond, which is a kind of insurance policy that they will act in the best wishes of the estate and beneficiaries. It guarantees there is a way to reimburse the estate if something goes wrong due to the person's intentional or unintentional actions.

3. The assets are located

Next, the decedent's assets are located. This is the first task the executor has to take on, because the safety of those assets is vital. The executor has to maintain property tax payments, maintain insurance and guarantee that properties aren't lost or placed into foreclosure.

It's at this time that the death value of the property has to be assessed, creditors must be informed and debts have to be paid. Tax returns are filed and paid next.

4. The estate is divided

Finally, the estate is divided out to the beneficiaries. The executor has to show that there is a complete list of every transaction made and then seek approval to distribute the property to the beneficiaries. Once this is done, the estate is settled.

These are the basic steps of probate if a will is present. It can be a long process, but there is help.

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The Law Office of Araceli Tovar, APC

251 Madrona St.
Chula Vista, CA 91910

Phone: 619-869-4200
Fax: 619-869-4202
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