Torrance Probate Lawyers

ProbateAt Conover & Grebe, LLP, we guide clients through the probate process, helping them handle their legal duties and obligations while making sure that things run smoothly. To do so, we have years of experience and in-depth knowledge of California probate law.

In California, a probate proceeding is necessary with or without a will. If the value of a deceased person's assets is above a certain threshold, currently $150,000, a probate is a court proceeding that winds up a person's legal and financial affairs after death. If the deceased person has a will and named an individual to handle his or her affairs after death, this person is called an executor. If there is no will, the person handling the probate estate is called an administrator. If there is no will, a close family member or friend of the decedent may wish to file a petition to handle the probate. An executor and or administrator may also be called a fiduciary.

Many fiduciaries are wary of the probate process. They are nervous about going to court and are unsure about what to expect. One major concern is that the probate process will take a long time. While probate can take some time, a minimum of nine months, the lawyers at Conover & Grebe, LLP, take steps to ensure it does not take longer than necessary. We can help guide you through the probate process — taking away the worry and burden that often comes with wrapping up someone's affairs.

When you meet with our experienced Los Angeles County probate attorneys, we will explain and clarify the California Probate Code, as well as the state and local court rules, so that you understand what to expect throughout the probate process. Generally, the probate process includes the following steps:

  • The person named in the will (or a friend or family member) files a petition with the Superior Court asking that he or she be appointed as a fiduciary.
  • Notices are sent to relatives of decedent to let them know that a hearing will be held.
  • If the validity of the will is disputed, objections (concerns) may be filed and estate litigation may result.
  • Once appointed, the fiduciary is required to file an inventory of the estate's assets.
  • Creditors may need to be researched, located and noticed.
  • Bills of the decedent may have to be paid.
  • Income tax returns and fiduciary tax returns may have to be filed.
  • Estate taxes have to be addressed.
  • Real property may be sold.
  • Remaining estate assets are distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries under a will.

Probate may not always be necessary. In certain circumstances, the California Probate Code allows the decedent's property to be distributed without court involvement. This may occur if the total value of the estate is under $150,000. It may also occur if the estate is entirely the joint property of a married couple, which passes to the surviving spouse by law. However, unless there is a trust or beneficiary designations, larger estates must generally be distributed under the court's supervision.

Life can be difficult for a decedent's surviving spouse, his or her children, and extended family members. In addition to the emotional struggles of losing a loved one, relatives often face legal and financial challenges.

Even small tasks become difficult. For example, a family member or friend named as an executor under a will may be told that he or she may not have access to the decedent's safety deposit box. A spouse or beneficiary under a life insurance policy may also be told incorrectly on the phone that court documents must be furnished prior to obtaining funds designated to him or her by the decedent.

If you are running into difficult situations after the loss of a loved one, the probate attorneys at Conover & Grebe, LLP, in Torrance can assist in finding a solution. We can handle matters for you so that you are free to focus on the things that matter most to you — including honoring the life of a loved one while moving forward after the loss.

Contact Our Torrance Probate Attorneys

If you are an executor, administrator, creditor, beneficiary, heir or interested party, talking with an experienced lawyer is the most effective way to learn about decedents' estates and transferring property without probate. To talk with our Torrance, California, probate lawyers, we urge you to contact our law firm at 310-776-9028 or toll free at 866-661-9751 for a confidential consultation.