There are a few occasions where a California estate will need to automatically go through a formal probate process. Even if an estate plan doesn’t automatically go through probate, there are still reasons where you can send an estate to probate.
When does an estate automatically go through probate?
If it’s not clear where the assets should go after the passing of their owner, then a formal probate process is needed. This is most often used when there’s no estate plan or will in place.
The estate is worth more than $166,250 in the state of California, then a probate process is automatically required. In all other cases, as long as there’s a clear estate plan you can follow, there’s not necessarily an estate plan needed.
When should you file for probate?
Even if there’s an estate plan in place, there are a few reasons why the family might want to go to probate court. If the assets are complicated or there are no instructions for accessing those assets and accounts, then probate court can help make it easier.
You also should take an estate to probate court if there are any questions about the legitimacy of an estate. This includes signs that the estate plan is out of date or questions about how the estate plan was drawn up.
How do you file for probate?
The will must be taken to the probate court within 30 days of the person dying regardless of whether it’s getting petitioned. At this time, if someone wants to take the estate plan to probate court, they can file a petition for probate in the county where the person lived. A date is scheduled by the court from that point.
What happens next?
Generally, the petitioner and executor of the will must bring documentation and give proper notice that the will is going to probate court. It’s important to get all of the documentation together and follow the process set forth by the court in full.