Probate is a legal process that occurs following the death of an individual and is focused on the assets and liabilities of the decedent, along with validating any existing will or other legal directives. The probate process can be difficult in some cases, especially when the state intervenes with decisions that are not necessarily the wishes of any involved parties. The probate period allows any creditors or government tax agencies to come forward with accounts that must be settled. All accounts not received within the allocated amount of time are normally not included, but certain creditors or collection agents may still file suit against some individuals connected to the estate, such as an administrator or trustee, requiring representation from a probate attorney.
Probate law can be particularly problematic for those who pass intestate, which is the legal term for dying without a will, and all assets are evaluated for distribution to creditors and potential inheritance beneficiaries strictly according to state law. These situations can be intense and complicated, and having an experienced probate attorney like Brandon Erickson can assure everyone the rights of the decedent’s family will be enforced, especially when there are minor children needing guardianship.
Getting Prepared for Probate
Brandon is our leading probate attorney and handles cases that include everything from preparing a simple valid will and testament or assignment of power of attorney to developing a full estate plan that is focused on protecting as many of the decedent’s assets as possible. Bad outcomes can happen in probate when assets are not protected, and family members with potential beneficiary standing can contest the validity of a will or assignment of property. These problems arise commonly, and an experienced probate attorney like Brandon Erickson can help the primary estate holder in being prepared for every possibility. Even simple estate issues can be avoided that would otherwise be included in the probate process, and being prepared beforehand is always the best decision.
Evaluating Your Personal Asset Protection Needs
Estate planning is not always a simple process. A comprehensive estate plan will include the assignment of a power of attorney to handle personal affairs at the point of incapacity of the primary estate holder. This authority ends at death, but the same individual can also be named as the estate administrator or trustee. The process will also include the advice of an attorney who can anticipate what problems may lie ahead. Brandon can help you take a full inventory of all assets and liabilities and craft a plan to protect maximum personal property, including retirement accounts and other assets.
Trusts and Insurance in Probate Court
There are essentially two types of trusts, with those being revocable and irrevocable. Revocable trusts usually name the decedent as trustee. Irrevocable trusts cannot be changed after they are established and the assets are considered the property of the trustee or beneficiary, passing outside probate. The same is true of any life insurance policies, but the decedent can still be the beneficiary if the assets are intended specifically for burial. If a beneficiary other than the decedent is named, the proceeds are the personal property of the beneficiary and are not attachable by creditors or subject to taxes stemming from the probate process. Making sure your estate has optimized asset protection is important, and Brandon Erickson can put his experience to work for with foresight of potential problems.
Anyone in California who is facing a looming probate process should call us as soon as possible. Brandon Erickson can evaluate your personal situation and prepare for the minimal impact of unwanted state intervention in the distribution of the decedent estate resulting from probate.