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Santa Ana Attorneys Guide You through the Probate Process

Probate litigation in Orange & Irvine, CA requires deep knowledge of the law

At Invictus Law, P.C., we assist estate administrators, personal representatives, trustees and guardians with carrying out their fiduciary duties. We also apply our formidable litigation skills and in-depth knowledge of California’s probate law to provide counsel when conflicts arise between personal representatives, heirs, beneficiaries and creditors. With offices in Ontario and Santa Ana, California, we serve clients throughout San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties, including Orange and Irvine.

Clarifying what probate is

Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s estate is administered. It resolves all claims and distributes property according to the deceased person’s legally valid will. The local Superior Court of California county court determines whether the will is legally valid and then interprets it to ensure that its stipulations are implemented. Probate also allows for beneficiaries and creditors to bring claims against the estate.

If your loved one has left a legally valid will, an estate executor or personal representative is named in it. When a will doesn’t stipulate one, the court assigns an estate administrator.

Our probate lawyers in Orange County are fully knowledgeable about the process and advise you on how to probate your loved one’s will and identify any potential pitfalls.

Helping determine whether probate is necessary

The original will must be taken to probate court within 30 days of your loved one’s death. Careful estate planning may have obviated the need for probate. For instance, irrevocable trusts are not subject to probate, and estate assets can then be immediately distributed. If the decedent left more than $150,000, the case must proceed through probate court, starting with the petition to probate. If the decedent left $150,000 or less, other factors are taken into consideration, including the amount of money and the type of property left. We counsel you on whether probate is necessary in your situation.

Resolving probate disputes

At Invictus Law P.C., our probate lawyers have the litigation skills necessary to resolve claims and disputes involving:

  • Wills contests
  • Trusts contests
  • Financial abuse
  • Creditor claims
  • Breach of fiduciary duties
  • Estate mismanagement
  • Discharge of personal representatives or trustees

In California, heirs, beneficiaries and creditors can contest wills. To do so requires filing a petition stating your objection with the probate court in the county where the deceased person lived. Statutes of limitations apply to creditor claims and if the will has a no-contest clause, we advise you on likely outcomes.

Assisting with guardianships through probate courts

A person seeking an appointment as guardian or someone wanting to appoint a guardian requires the involvement of the local probate court. A legally appointed guardian is able to make decisions on behalf of a minor child. There are two types of guardianships: Guardianship of the person provides for a child’s safety, growth and well-being, and guardianship of the estate involves management of a child’s income, money and other property until the child reaches the age of 18. Guardianship of the estate is particularly needed when a child inherits a house or a substantial sum of money.

Adult guardianships, often called conservatorships, may also be arranged. As with guardianships, there are two types: Conservatorship of the person provides for the care and protection of an individual when a judge decides that person cannot do so himself or herself, and conservatorship of the estate provides for the care of financial matters. The probate court appoints conservators.

Learn more about probate from our qualified California estate attorneys

Invictus Law, P.C. guides you through the probate court process, which can often feel intimidating and complicated. Call us now at (949) 287-5711 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation at either our Santa Ana or Ontario, California office. Our firm does not require you to pay any up-front attorney’s fees.

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