Probate hearings are often a mystery to those who've not been involved in them and are described as a "nightmare" by those who have. They are the subject of dramatic scenes in movies and books, and it's no exaggeration to say that they can be a trying time for all involved.
Even without the overblown depictions of probate hearings or fears of challenges, a probate hearing often adds a large amount of uncertainty to a naturally stressful time. The intervention of the courts to take over the management of the deceased's assets can reduce or eliminate control over the estate, and it's not always clear who will benefit.
Also, probate hearings regularly take much longer to conclude than other, more directed, plans for asset distribution.
While wills serve to specify the distribution of physical goods such as jewelry or family heirlooms, and living trusts can control the distribution of financial assets such as stock holdings or retirement plans, a probate hearing can introduce challenges and disputes that can tie up assets for significant periods of time.
California law requires a probate hearing if any one of a number of conditions is true. If someone dies intestate, or without a will, a probate hearing will be required. If you have plans for how your assets should be distributed, taking action now with an experienced tax and estate planning attorney can make all the difference. There are legal means to avoid probate for most, if not all, of your assets, and your plans can be made real and secure.
Probate hearings are not only lengthy, they can also be expensive. If the assets are challenged or questioned, a California probate attorney is necessary if you want to protect your rights, but even if no disputes arise, a probate attorney is still necessary to properly conduct the legal provisions that arise in probate.
Probate is a confusing and complicated matter. Even in the simplest of hearings, the knowledge and experience of an attorney who practices in the areas of tax law and tax probate considerations can assist in the progress of the probate. If you're faced with, or have been involved with a probate hearing and want to avoid your loved ones through one, there is no substitute for the assistance a qualified estate planning attorney can provide.
To schedule a FREE initial estate planning consultation, please contact the Esquire Law Group at (800) 440-5294.