Orange County CA Estate Administration Attorney

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Turning to an Orange County estate administration lawyer from OC Wills & Trusts can help you ensure that your carefully crafted estate plan is followed after your death. No matter how meticulous you are in expressing your final wishes in your estate plan, the court and your surviving family and friends still need to carry out those wishes. And even without an estate plan, someone needs to handle your final affairs.

If you recently lost a loved one, an estate administration attorney from OC Wills & Trusts is only a phone call or online message away. Regardless of whether your loved one has an estate plan in place, there are steps you need to take to wrap up your loved one’s affairs. Let an experienced Orange County estate administration attorney from OC Wills & Trusts guide you through the process.

What happens to an estate after death in California?

Once your loved one passes away in California, or if they die elsewhere but have property in California, a probate proceeding must be filed shortly after death. Probate is the process overseen by the court wherein the lawful debts of the decedent’s estate are paid and their assets distributed to any heirs and beneficiaries.

Any will or trust the deceased made during their lifetime will guide the court’s decisions and the actions an estate administrator will take during this process. If there is no will or trust, California probate laws will tell the court and the deceased’s heirs how to handle the estate.

In either case, there are several steps to the probate process. An experienced estate administration attorney can help at every one of the following stages:

Probate Proceeding Initiated

First, a probate action is opened in the appropriate superior court in California. This legal filing informs the court that the decedent has passed away. It also explains that the decedent has assets and that those assets and any debts need to be addressed. If there is any will, this also gets filed with the court.

Administrator Appointed

One of the first orders the court will enter after probate begins is one that appoints an administrator or executor over the decedent’s estate. A will usually identifies who this person should be, or the court can appoint someone if there is no will. This person is responsible for paying the estate’s debts and distributing assets.

Disbursement of the Estate

Shortly after being appointed, the administrator will need to identify the decedent’s property or estate and take steps to safeguard it. This can involve an extensive search if the decedent had many assets. An experienced estate administration lawyer will be familiar with where to look for such property.

Certain claims can be filed against a decedent’s estate and the assets of that estate. The administrator is responsible for informing potential creditors of the decedent’s death and paying any lawful claims. Other assets will be distributed to heirs or beneficiaries according to either the law or the terms of a will.

How an Orange County Estate Administration Attorney Helps You

While some laws and forms can help guide individuals committed to administering their loved one’s estate themselves, the process can be complicated. Hiring an estate administration lawyer from OC Wills & Trusts means having a knowledgeable professional at your side who can:

Prepare Necessary Pleadings and Motions

From the initial probate paperwork to motions seeking permission from the court to take certain actions, there are times you need to have legal documents prepared. These documents must conform to certain substantive and technical requirements to accomplish what you need them to. Your lawyer will know what these documents are, as well as how to prepare and when to file them.

Protecting the Decedent’s Estate

A lawyer skilled in estate administration will know what actions to take to identify and protect your loved one’s property so the estate can be handled appropriately. Having a knowledgeable legal mind at your disposal is especially helpful if the decedent had property located in several counties or states. 

Additionally, there might be assets that will not pass through probate, like a life insurance policy. In such cases, those assets can be located and addressed by your attorney.

Handling Challenges to Estate Administration

Any person who believes they have a legal or other right to the decedent’s assets may challenge how the estate is handled. These can be costly civil matters that take time, attention, and resources away from wrapping up your loved one’s affairs. When you encounter such disputes and challenges, you can trust your estate administration attorney to address them quickly and competently.

Now Is the Time to Contact an Estate Administration Lawyer From OC Wills & Trusts

If your loved one has recently died, contact OC Wills & Trusts immediately and ask to meet with an Orange County estate administration attorney as soon as possible. Having knowledgeable help from the outset can make the entire estate administration process proceed more smoothly and quickly. Let us show you how by contacting us today.