What is probate? Probate is a court process that is often necessary to settle the financial affairs of someone who has died. It includes, for example:

1. Appointing a person to be executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate;

2. If there was a Will, proving to the court that a deceased person's will is valid;

3. Collecting all of the deceased person's assets, and having them appraised;

4. Accounting for the income and expenses of the estate’s assets;

5. Paying debts and taxes; and

6. Distributing the remaining assets according to the Will (or according to California law, if there was no Will).

Probate is an important process, but can be time consuming and expensive. Sometimes it is unavoidable. However, if you are reading this now, there are many things you can do to plan your estate, so that your loved ones will not need to suffer through inconvenient processes like probate. We would be happy to explain the many advantages of estate planning.