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What is Probate?

Probate is a word that most people have heard but few really understand.  They may have some idea that “probate” is something that happens when a loved one passes away, but they often have very little information beyond that.  Let’s take a brief look at what probate court is and when you might need to bring a case there.

Probate courts deal with the financial and proprietary issues that come up when a person dies.  A probate court is where you go to determine whether a will is valid or to interpret the terms of a trust.  Probate courts are also responsible for transferring ownership of any property from the person who recently passed away (the “decedent”) to the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries.  Probate courts will also make sure that any debts owed by the decedent are paid out of the decedent’s estate (i.e., the property and assets they owned at the time of death).

Figuring out if you have to go to probate court depends on many issues, like the amount of money involved, the type of property involved, how the property is owned and who is claiming that they should inherit the property.  It is helpful to consult an attorney (like the ones here at Schorr Law) to determine whether you need to bring a case in probate court.

If you do need to go to probate court, it is important that you don’t delay in doing so.  If the decedent left a will, the will must be presented to the probate court clerk’s office of the county where the decedent died within 30 days of their death.  Once that happens, you can begin the process of bringing a petition in probate court.

Sometimes our attorneys deal with probate court where a dispute arises regarding who has a right to estate property.  This can be a dispute about the terms of a living or revocable trust, a will or other probate devices.

Our Los Angeles Probate Attorneys at Schorr Law have experience dealing with probate matters. To inquire about a free 30 minute consult, you can contact us via email at info@schorr-law.com, by filling out the Contact Form on the side of the page, or you can also give us a call at (310) 954-1877.

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