Sandoval Legacy Group has over 30 years of experience in empowering American families to continue their legacies. While you can control what you can by putting a strong estate plan in place, probate is what happens after you pass away. It’s what puts your estate plan’s efficacy to the test. With our customized estate planning process, both our clients and their families will have a holistic support system from beginning to end, from the creation of the estate plan to the opening and closing of an estate through probate. A comprehensive estate plan can make the probate process much smoother, and may even avoid it altogether, but it is a long and complicated process. Working with our trusted and experienced team gives our clients peace of mind knowing that their loved ones will be supported. This will enable them to get through the probate process as quickly as possible and focus on the grieving and healing process.
Purpose of Probate
There are valid reasons why the probate process exists in American state legislatures. The first purpose is to figure out the rightful heirs and ensure that they receive their inheritances. Additionally, it ensures that eligible entities receive payments from the estate, such as tax bureaus and consumer creditors. Lastly, the probate court appoints important roles such as Guardians and Conservators who are tasked with caring for loved ones in your absence.
Probate is, however, an incredibly difficult process.
While grieving the loss of a loved one, families must undergo a tortuous legal process filled with unfamiliar jargon and uncertain outcomes. The risk of acute stressors like family disputes and lawsuits is also increased. Finally, the probate process can take years and decrease the value of the estate. Not only do heirs have to wait a long time to receive their inheritances, but they may also receive much less than they expected. It can be devastating when you’ve worked your entire life to build a legacy for your family. Loss and grief are already challenging enough without adding undue stress to them.
Why Does It Take So Long?
During the probate process, the deceased person’s debts and assets are finalized by the court, assets are legally transferred, and taxes and debts are paid off.
There are a number of reasons why probate can take a long time, but the top three are:
- The speed at which the forms are filed.
- There was no valid Will left by the decedent.
- The complexity of the estate’s assets.
Steps to Avoid Probate
By transferring ownership of your assets, you can avoid probate in California. These strategies each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few strategies to consider, but please contact one of our estate planning attorneys for more information on your specific situation.
- Joint Tenancy Custodial Accounts
- Payable on Death / Transfer on Death / In Trust for Accounts
- Beneficiary Designation
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Various types of Irrevocable Trusts
Save Time & Money — Hire a Probate Attorney
The judge will often recommend that the executor or administrator who is representing himself or herself hire an attorney. In many cases, experienced probate attorneys can save the estate money and time. Most people who try to handle probate on their own will suffer many continued hearings as they attempt to address the deficiencies pointed out by the probate court. A judge may issue a monetary sanction or suspend or remove the executor/administrator if the case is continued too many times.
How to Accelerate the Probate Process
The paperwork you complete can be controlled, not what you inherit. By submitting the right paperwork at the beginning or quickly addressing any deficiencies, an experienced probate attorney can avoid these delays and sanctions. The estate may save thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in payments by negotiating a reduction in the claims filed by creditors. A knowledgeable probate attorney with a tax background can often suggest ways to save on income taxes and property tax issues. All this makes the beneficiaries receive their inheritance as quickly as possible and often in a greater amount than if the executor or administrator handled the probate by himself or herself.
The best way to speed up the probate process is to plan. Having an estate plan in place can make the process less complicated for your loved ones.
Benefits of Hiring a Probate Attorney
Having a proper estate plan is essential for taking care of your family now and in the future.
One of the greatest gifts you can give to your family is including probate avoidance strategies in your overall estate plan. In addition to keeping your estate information private and increasing the value of the estate you pass down to your family, creating an estate plan that avoids probate also spares them the stress and grief associated with a lengthy, drawn-out probate process. Protect your loved ones and your legacy for future generations with our comprehensive estate plan tailored to meet your needs.
Sandoval Legacy Group is Southern California’s most experienced probate and estate planning law firm. Its managing partner, Dennis M. Sandoval, is the only attorney in California with specialist certifications in the three areas of: Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law; Taxation Law; and Elder Law.
Contact Us for Personalized Estate Planning in Southern California
We know discussing end-of-life plans can be difficult, but we approach this delicate conversation with respect and dignity. Our estate planning services cover all areas of elder law and probate based on your specific financial & health situation. If you have questions or concerns regarding your estate plan, probate, special needs planning, or elder law, attorney Dennis M. Sandoval and the Sandoval Legacy Group team are ready to assist you.
Southern California’s Premier Estate Planning Law Firm
With thirty-plus years of experience as an estate planning law firm in Southern California, you will have the most experienced legal minds to guide you. The trusted estate planning lawyers at the Sandoval Legacy Group, a division of Holstrom Block & Parke, A Professional Law Corporation, have offices located throughout Southern California in Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties. If you have questions or concerns regarding your estate plan, special needs planning, elder law, advanced tax planning, or probate, contact us or give us a call at (888) 502-2881 to schedule a complimentary consultation.