West Hills Probate Attorney
Probate is the process by which the validity of a will is established. Probate can be a complicated process, so it is generally a good idea to work with an attorney. Our experienced West Hills probate attorney will know what needs to be done to ensure that the estate is administered in a legal and efficient manner. Our West Hills probate attorney can also assist with estate planning to help you plan for your future.
What is probate?
While probate generally involves the proving of a will, it also encompasses a variety of other issues that may arise after a person passes away. When a deceased person has a will and designates a personal representative or executor, the probate process allows the person who is designated to receive authorization to act for the deceased. Through the authority granted in the probate process, the personal representative can transfer title to property and transact business on behalf of the deceased person.
Persons who are heirs of an estate or are designated as recipients of property or other assets in a will can be involved in the probate process to ensure that the personal representative or executor is properly carrying out their duties. In some situations, heirs may need a West Hills probate attorney to represent them and protect their interests.
In situations where the deceased person has minor children, the probate process can also address issues of guardianship of the children when a will designates a specific guardian.
Do all estates need to go through probate?
Not all estates require probate. Some assets may be transferred to the intended recipients without the need for court intervention. These are often referred to as non-probate assets. For example, if the deceased person maintained a retirement account that designated specific beneficiaries, then the account would transfer to those beneficiaries automatically without the need for probate. Our West Hills probate attorney can help identify non-probate assets in a deceased person’s estate and advise you as to whether probate is needed.
When property is titled in the deceased person’s name and needs to be transferred to another individual, probate may be necessary to properly transfer ownership.
Will I be required to go to court for probate?
Many estates can be handled through an informal probate procedure which does not require any formal court hearings. Our probate attorney will prepare all of the necessary paperwork and can handle most of the issues with the court.
In more complex cases or when the persons interested in the estate have disputes, court appearances may be needed. In these situations, a probate attorney can represent your interests and advocate on your behalf.
Are there ways to avoid probate?
You can take action while you are alive to avoid the need for probate. Our probate attorney can help assess your situation to determine what course of action makes the most sense. By working closely with a probate attorney, you will better ensure a smooth transition and will also be aware of potential tax consequences of various scenarios.
One common method to avoid probate is to create a trust. Our probate attorney will know what type of trust best fits your situation and can help you create a trust that meets all of the legal requirements.
Contact Our West Hills Probate Attorney
Louis Pacella is an experienced West Hills probate attorney who knows the law and how to apply it to various situations. He will work closely with you to determine the best course of action. Contact our office at (818) 616-8827 to schedule a consultation.