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probate Archives

Will a handwritten will hold up in court?

Imagine a scene from a movie where an injured solider scribbles a few things down on a piece of paper before taking his last breath. Upon close examination, his fellow warriors discover that the fallen hero had drafted and signed an informal, handwritten will during his last moments. Would such a will hold weight in court? Will the beneficiaries who he scribbled on the page get to receive the assets he bequeathed to them?

How do a spouse and children divide an estate without a will?

When an individual dies without a will in California, and he or she is survived by immediate family members, those family members will likely split the estate's assets according to California intestacy laws. In a way, intestacy laws function as a kind of default will by offering guidelines for estate distribution when no will exists.

Can I challenge a will for having ambiguous language?

Sometimes the beneficiaries of an estate -- or the potential heirs of an estate -- realize that the language written in a will is ambiguous. In these cases, those who stand to benefit from the estate may want to seek clarification to ensure that they are interpreting the will correctly and that the will distributes its assets in the way that the original will creator intended.

Can I avoid probate in California?

Avoiding probate is a serious concern for most individuals with any significant estate, especially those who own real estate here in California. If you own a home in California, then you probably exceed the threshold of personal wealth that triggers probate, so it is wise to consider the means you may use to circumvent probate when you pass away, to ensure that your wishes and legacy remain properly protected.

What are the steps involved in the probate process?

Probating an estate as an executor can range from being a minor difficulty to a full-blown multi-year struggle. Usually, estates with little in assets are easier to handle. It's the larger estates that become complicated and present the risk of running into serious legal trouble.

Make sure you handle a will correctly after a death

When a loved one dies, one of the first things you might do is make the person's final arrangements. While this is most certainly a priority, it isn't the only thing that you need to do. If the person has a will, that will must be filed with the court within 30 days of the death. This time limit is strict so make sure you comply with it.

Not all estates must go through probate

The probate process can be a long and drawn out affair for many estates. Many people don't realize that it is possible to avoid the probate process by setting up the estate plan properly. This isn't something that is going to happen automatically, so you have to be ready to put in a little work to get this done.

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