How Probate Works in California

How Probate Works in California: Overview

How probate works refers to the process wherein a deceased person’s assets are transferred to their remaining heirs under the court’s jurisdiction in California.

  • Will vs. Trust – A will is a formal document that specifies how you’d like your property and possessions to be handled and distributed after your death. Wills are required by law. It won’t go into effect until after the individual who wrote the will has passed away. A trust, on the other hand, is a type of fiduciary agreement in which a grantor gives a trustee the right to oversee and distribute the assets that the grantor has given to the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries designated by the grantor.
  • Intestate vs. Testate – If the deceased person left a valid Will, their estate is said to be Testate; otherwise, it is said to be Intestate. If someone passes away “Testate,” the law requires them to appoint a personal representative to handle the distribution of their assets. The designated agent is referred to as the “executor.” If a person dies “Intestate,” their heirs are determined by state law. If not the spouse, the deceased person’s parents or children usually receive the estate.


Buying and Selling of Probate Properties in California

Probate home purchases often take at least six months to finalize. Buyers should know that the probate sale procedure can take 18 to 30 months (over two years). Buyers who need to close on a house quickly may want to look into more conventional options, as there are a variety of quite extensive waiting periods and typically many delays.

Though it’s a long process, it still has an advantage, and one of them is the possibility of acquiring it for a price lower than its current market worth. When no one will reside in the estate, or there are several recipients of probate property, it is typical practice to sell the property and divide the sales proceeds among those parties.

One thing to note is that the probate process is not required if the property is sold by a surviving spouse listed as the joint proprietor on the title deed. However, if the deceased owner is the sole named party on the title deed, the property may not be sold until a probate or probate grant is issued. However, it is possible to sell the property before probate is granted, and in many circumstances, this is the best course of action.


Who Should I Hire? A Probate Realtor or an Attorney?

If you are interested in purchasing or selling a probate estate, it is highly recommended that you retain the services of an attorney. Because the court oversees the probate sales process, there will be stringent laws and regulations to adhere to and legal documents to sign. You will have a much easier time grasping the intricate estate probate process if you retain the services of a probate attorney.

It is necessary to hire an experienced probate real estate professional because this individual will be required to play a significant role in the procedure. You will be assisted by the real estate agent in determining the estate’s fair market value, submitting an offer, marketing the property, and negotiating a superb deal.

Should you have any questions regarding California probate law or the probate process in general, please do not hesitate to contact us at your earliest opportunity. We are also able to guide you through the process of buying real estate from a deceased person’s estate to make the transaction as painless as it can be.


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