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Which estates need a formal probate process?

Probate refers to a legal process followed when settling the estate of a person when they die. During the process, the court appoints a representative whose role is to distribute the property to the descendants according to the law. In California, the personal representative can hire an attorney for guidance during the complex process. Here are some basics of a formal probate process.

A probate estate

A probate estate refers to the property that the deceased owned before their death. The estate is also known as an asset. Real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, life insurance and business interests are probate assets. However, not all assets fall under this category. If the deceased owned some property jointly or had a contract with another person, these assets are often noted as non-probate assets. Hence, they are not included in the probate estate.

Initiating probate

You can initiate probate in a court situated in the state where the deceased resided during their death. Additionally, you can also initiate probate in any state where the deceased owned assets. There’s formal and informal probate.

Formal probate

Formal probate entails court proceedings to determine the division of assets. However, this type of probate is time-consuming and costly. Formal probate is essential for real property and when the beneficiaries disagree. Additionally, you can request formal probate when the interested parties fail to validate the will.

Informal probate

For informal probate, the personal representative and the beneficiaries often agree on the independent distribution of estate administration and probate. In this case, there minimal or no factors complicating the whole process.

Both formal and informal probates follow a specific procedure. Thus, as an interested party in the probate process, don’t hesitate to consult an attorney. An attorney might help you make informed decisions during the probate process.