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What You Need to Know About Probate

February 2, 2016

01.28.2016.jpg Death, like taxes, is one sure thing that all of us will face at some time. This is not exactly a cheerful topic to discuss, but if you have any possessions or property, bills to pay, investments or money saved, there is something you should know about so you can prepare before it is too late. I am talking about probate. You have heard the term, but do you know what it means and how it can affect you and your family? Probate is, in essence, a court process established to administer the estate of an individual. While each state has their regulations to follow, there is no way to avoid probate. Even if you have a Will that specifies what should be done with everything, from your home down to your clothes or favorite book, your estate must still go through probate.

The process of probate was established to help provide a plan after someone is deceased, whether they have a Will or not. There are also procedures included in the administration of an estate, which provide a measure of protection for the named deceased, family, and third parties that have an interest in someone’s estate. The key purposes of probate are:

  • To verify the deceased is actually dead
  • To verify the validity of a Will
  • To identify those who inherit
  • To settle any claims from creditors & other third parties
  • To distribute the property

Like most court proceedings, probate can take a long time to complete. If you have a Will in place with an executor assigned, it can go more smoothly. If someone passes away without a Will, their estate becomes intestate, or without a will. This situation can make for a longer process, as the laws and regulations around intestate probates are very complex in both the method and manner of how property is distributed. With a Will in place, the assigned executor works with a court appointed administrator to process the terms of the Will. It is the job of the administrator to supervise the execution of the Will as a neutral third party.

The end result of probate is to transfer ownership of a decedent’s property. You may wonder if your home can be sold while in probate or if your beneficiaries must wait until the process is completed. With an executor in place, property can be sold while in probate. Executors can negotiate a sale with a private buyer or arrange for a public auction. There are many rules and regulations to follow within this type of sale, working with a legal adviser and Realtor® is the best way to ensure you have a plan set up to make the transition of your property as easy as possible. If you find yourself the executor of an Estate, the same holds true. This is a process best not done alone.

When you are ready to sell or buy a home, my team and I are ready to help you through the entire process. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820, or by email at


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