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Probate Administration

Probate Administration in Los Angeles County

Probate & the Administration Process

In many cases when a California resident passes away, their estate will need to go through the probate process. Probate is a court-supervised legal process where the title from the decedent's property is transferred to his or her beneficiaries. When the decedent dies with a will (testate), an executor has been preselected by the decedent to manage the estate. When someone dies without a will (intestate), then the court appoints an administrator to settle the estate. Although these are two different terms, their duties are the same.

Not all property is subject to probate, certain assets are a part of a person's non-probate estate and these include benefits paid directly to a named beneficiary such as IRAs, Keoghs, and 401(k) accounts. Others that are not subject to probate proceedings include payable-on-death bank accounts (PODs), or "in trust for" accounts with a named beneficiary.

Responsibilities of the Personal Representative

Whether the personal representative is the executor named in the will or the administrator appointed by the court, the personal representative (person settling the estate) will have a number of important responsibilities including but not limited to:

  • Locate the assets and manage them through the probate process.
  • Receive payments due to the estate such as interest, dividends, and other income.
  • Set up an estate checking account.
  • Determine who will get how much; if there is no will then determine inheritance rights under California's intestate succession laws.
  • Value or appraise the estate's assets.
  • Give legal notice to creditors.
  • Pay funeral bills and outstanding debts.
  • File tax returns and pay income and estate taxes, including the final state and federal income tax return of the deceased.
  • Distribute the remaining property to the beneficiaries named in the will.

Contact Mary E. Mullin, Attorney at Law

If you were appointed the personal representative of an estate, it's a good idea to seek legal representation from a Los Angeles County probate lawyer at our firm. We will not only represent your best interests as the personal representative, but we can help avoid disagreements among family members, and we can help you avoid costly mistakes and delays. With over 20 years of experience assisting personal representatives in Whittier and throughout Los Angeles County, Mary E. Mullin, Attorney at Law is here to assist you.

Contact our office today by calling (562) 283-5507 to schedule a free evaluation.

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