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Sacramento Probate Attorney: Understanding Probate and Last Wills

Published by Trudy Nearn on May 30, 2014

It is perfectly understandable to feel uncomfortable when writing a last will. After all, the idea of dying is hardly comforting, especially when one has to leave behind so many possessions. Yet a properly drafted will preserves estate assets and spares everyone involved from a protracted probate process that could bankrupt the estate, as probate liquidator and Yahoo! contributor Simon Volkov points out.

In essence, probate entails a summation of the estate’s value, the settlement of the decedent’s financial obligations, and the distribution of the remaining assets to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries. Some states follow their own probate laws while other states adhere to what is known as the Uniform Probate Code.

Looking into the Probate Will

When handed over to the probate court, the last will becomes the probate will, which the judge then reads and takes note of with regard to the deceased person's estate. The will usually names all the assets that the decedent owns, the probate personal representative or executor tasked to manage the estate, and the list of the deceased person’s beneficiaries.

On the Role of the Probate Court.

One of the aims of the probate court is to settle all the decedent’s financial debts. Volkov states that if debts far exceed estate financial holdings, the presiding judge could rule that inheritance property be sold to satisfy creditors. In this case, a skilled Sacramento probate attorney from a trusted firm like Generations can be relied upon to negotiate with creditors for a reduction of the estate’s debts.

Meanwhile, if the estate includes real property with outstanding mortgages, the heirs named in the will could opt to pay off the mortgage to protect their inheritance. After all debts are paid, the executor can then proceed with the tasks as stated in the last will.

Intestate Probate Court

A person who dies intestate or without a will leaves his or her heirs in a quandary. For one, if the decedent owns property outside of the home state, the estate may end up having different sets of heirs or beneficiaries as a result of possible differences among state probate laws. This scenario must be avoided if one really wishes to preserve the estate for one’s rightful heirs. As such, drafting a last will with proper guidance from a qualified Sacramento probate lawyer would be a wise move.

(Source: Using Probate Wills to Protect Inheritance Assets, Yahoo! Voices, 24 June, 2010)

Category: Info Articles

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