What Is Probate?

Probate is the legal process of wrapping up financial matters and distributing property after a person has died. The "estate" is the legal entity that holds title to all of the property until it is distributed.

Estate administration includes probate as well as the process of transferring assets outside of probate such as retitling a deed for a surviving spouse or transferring assets held in a trust.

In California, the probate process is supervised by the court and can last from 8 to 24 months. While probate is not necessarily complicated, there are many details that must be handled in an orderly fashion. Mistakes in probating an estate can put the person managing the probate process (an executor or personal representative) at risk for a lawsuit by heirs or creditors.

This is one reason why people choose to consult with a law firm that focuses on probate law. By working with an experienced probate lawyer, you can feel confident that the process has been completed as quickly and accurately as possible and that assets are distributed correctly.

Probate is necessary when someone dies in order to 1) legally transfer title of certain assets to the appropriate beneficiaries, and 2) appoint someone to oversee the distribution of the assets. If a person dies with a will, the assets are distributed by the terms of the will. If a person dies without a will, the state statutes determine entitlement to the decedent's assets. In California, the probate process is supervised by the court and can last from eight to more than 24 months.

Our Probate Practice

At the Law Offices of Elliott Abrams, we help clients accomplish the tasks of probating an estate in California. We often represent clients who live out of state, but whose relatives were California residents or whose assets are located in California. Contact our East Bay law office for help with the following probate services:

  • Identifying and paying outstanding debts
  • Collecting payments owed to the deceased
  • Spousal property petitions and/or legal transfer of title for homes, cars and property
  • Preparation of the final individual and estate tax returns
  • Distribution of remaining property among the beneficiaries according to the terms of a will (if a person dies without a will, California probate law determines who can inherit and how much they will inherit)

CONTACT us at 925-947-1333 to schedule a free, initial consultation. We will be there for you throughout the proceedings, answering all of your questions and keeping you informed about the process. We are attentive and sensitive to your needs.