Do You Understand the Benefits of Probate Our Probate Attorney Will Ensure Wishes are Honored

Orange County Probate Attorney

Helping Clients Make Important Decisions with Confidence

Probate is one of the most challenging and confusing subjects in the field of law that is estate planning. Simply put, probate is the administration of a decedent’s estate to carry out their intentions as expressed in a will. However, if a loved one passes away with a will, but no other estate planning instruments, such as a trust, then you and your fellow beneficiaries will be unable to receive your portions of the estate until the will has been subjected to the probate process. To protect your personal interests and ensure that the probate is carried out efficiently and economically, you should proceed with the help of P. Arnsen Blakely.

Our probate lawyer proudly serves clients all across Orange County who need legal guidance regarding complicated probate matters. Our firm has a stellar reputation for providing each of our clients with the support, and aggressive advocacy they require. We know that every probate matter is unique, which is why we tailor our service to your individual needs so that you are informed of your rights and options under the law,

Probate Explained

When a person dies and has drafted a will for their assets, the probate court ensures that the writer's intentions are carried out in accordance with the law. There are also safeguards in place during the probate process that ensure creditors' claims are paid, that asset protection exists, and that grievances of heirs and creditors are fairly dealt with.

If the deceased did not have a will in place at the time of their death, then the assets of their estate will be distributed how the court sees fit. In California, the court will appoint someone – often a family member of the decedent – to act as the executor of the estate. In cases where the decedent died without leaving a will to direct the disposition of the assets, the court will appoint an administrator to carry out the process of estate administration.

For these reasons, it is important for everyone to take the proper steps to plan for the future of their estate. When you have an estate plan in place – whether it involves a will or some form of trust – you can control what happens to your estate upon your death and ensure that your wishes are fulfilled.

Can I Avoid Probate?

With proper estate planning, a person can establish living trusts so that at the time of their death, their property bypasses the need for probate. By doing this, a person can appoint a trustee, who, at the time of their passing or incapacitation, will leave the responsibility of their estate to the person that was appointed—per the instructions that were outlined in the trust. Estates of under $100,000 may avoid formal probate procedures, as well, but there are also several other ways in which an experienced attorney may be able to help avoid probate.

It is generally advisable to avoid probate if possible. California State law makes this possible for estates valued at less than $150,000 by filing an affidavit with the court. Similarly, the spouse or registered domestic partner of the decedent can usually avoid probate. Another approach for avoiding probate is to implement an irrevocable trust or another type of trust before the date of death so that the inheritance is transferred out of the estate and will before the probate process.

FAQ: Probate

Question #1: What is the advantage of avoiding probate?

A: Probate ties up the assets of the decedent while the probate process plays out. It also entails effort and expense in complying with probate court requirements and procedures. By planning ahead in an effort to avoid probate proceedings, one's assets may be distributed as intended. Although certain types of property are often excluded from the process, including life insurance, real estate accounts, bank accounts, and/or retirement plans, creating a living trust may be the easiest way to avoid any future complications.

Question #2: When is probate litigation required?

A: Probate litigationoften occurs when there is a will contest. An heir may charge that the will has been forged or challenge the validity of the will on grounds that the writer of the will was of unsound mind or under undue influence. Vagueness and omissions in wills can also result in disputes, along with questions about an asset's value, the operations of a business that was owned by the deceased, and/or tax issues. There can also be litigation over creditor claims.

Question #3: What are the executor’s duties?

A: The executor is the person who administers the decedent's estate in accordance with the will. Usually, the executor is designated in the will but the court can approve someone else. It is the executor's duty to present the will for the court's approval. The executor is responsible for collecting the assets of the decedent and preparing an inventory for the court. The executor also has to pay the decedent's bills and prepare income and estate tax returns. The executor can sell the decedent's assets as needed to pay the estate's bills or facilitate the distribution of assets. Finally, the executor must prepare a proposed distribution of assets for the court's approval.

Why Clients Choose P. Arnsen Blakely

Probate administration can be both costly and time-consuming, which is why clients turn to our firm for cost-effective alternatives. We seek to inform our clients of both the positives and the negatives of probate before guiding them to the best decision. However, we want to stress that we do not push our clients to any choices; instead, we will encourage you to decide whatever option feels most comfortable.

At P. Arnsen Blakely, we understand that probate can be a rather complex and nuanced process. Most people aren’t prepared for the death of a loved one, let alone the financial and legal challenges that tend to accompany a person’s passing. That is why we are committed to using our 40 years of legal experience to guide our clients through each phase of the probate process. No matter the complexity of your case, you can trust our firm to provide you with the intimate knowledge and necessary tools you need to reach an effective solution.

Clients throughout Orange County choose P. Arnsen Blakely because we have:

  • 40+ years of experience
  • 7.5 Good Avvo rating
  • Respectable reputation amongst peers and clients

If you would like to learn more about the probate services we offer, please call P. Arnsen Blakely today at (714) 908-4230 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

A Strong Reputation in the Community

  • “I could not be more pleased with his advice, friendliness, promptness, and thoroughness.”

    Gloria L.

  • “He has always been there to protect my rights and interests in all cases, and is always honest and friendly.”

    Edward

  • “He knows what he's doing and he does it extremely well. Our outcome was magnificent thanks to Arnsen Blakely.”

    Nancy

  • “He instinctively senses the objective I'm working toward, and understands my needs.”

    Barry

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Attorney Blakely Has the Experience & Expertise Your Case Needs
  1. Over 40 Years of Legal Experience
  2. A 7.5 "Very Good" Rating on Avvo
  3. Strong Reputation Within the Southern California Community
  4. 24/7 Access to Your Legal Representative
  5. All Initial Case Evaluations Are Free
  6. Serving Clients Across All of Southern California
  7. Attorney Blakely Passed Both the CPA and Bar Exam in the Same Year
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