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Is probate complicated?

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | Probate |

There is no doubt that the aftermath of losing a loved one is overwhelming. You and your family may struggle with complex emotions – but will you have to navigate a complex legal process as well?

In many cases, probate may be necessary in California to validate a loved one’s will and begin the administration of their estate. However, many families worry that probate is a complicated procedure. Is this true?

Answer? It depends

While there are rules to follow and steps to take in probate, the process is never the same. Probate can be complex, but it depends heavily on specific details in each case, such as:

  • Details in the will: Does the will include clear instructions on how to manage and distribute property? Or does the will have ambiguous language that does not provide steps to follow? Clear information provided in the will can make a big difference.
  • Assets in the estate: If the estate includes a wide range of assets – as well as complex assets – then the process of valuing and distributing them can take time. It may also require particular strategies and professional guidance to manage these assets.
  • The size of the estate: In California, if the estate value is $184,500 or less, and your loved one made use of beneficiary designations, probate may not be necessary. However, estates larger than that often must go through probate with or without a will.
  • Disagreements between family members: If beneficiaries and family members do not agree with the interpretation of the will, it could lead to will contests which make the probate process more complicated.

There are steps individuals and families can take to make the process smoother and to avoid probate. You can take time to create a custom, detailed estate plan that protects their assets and their families. If a probate is necessary, families can be sure to communicate and consider working with professionals to make it easier to navigate this process.