Probate In San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties
If you need to file a Probate after the death of a loved one, we are very sorry for your loss.
Probate is the court-supervised process of closing out a loved one’s estate after their passing. This is often done by gathering assets and distributing them to creditors and inheritors according to their Will or California state law.
At Chillag & Associates, we understand the unique set of challenges that your family faces during this time. Working through estate administration can be a stressful, time consuming and costly burden on top of your current grief.
That is why we offer a full-service approach to Probate or trust administration on the Peninsula designed to minimize headaches, quickly transfer assets and ensure all legal requirements are satisfied within the appropriate deadlines. All of this is done with care and compassion during a difficult time.
If you need help with a Probate in San Mateo or Santa Clara County, please call our office at (650) 321-6796 for immediate assistance, or continue to read some of our Frequently Asked Questions about Probate in California below.
California Probate: What Is It and How Do I File?
Probate is a legal process to finalize and administer a loved one’s estate after death. Your family may work closely with the Superior Court in the county where your loved one died to:
- Determining the validity of the Will(s)
- Identify and inventory the deceased’s property
- Appraise the property
- Pay your loved one’s debts and taxes; and
- Distribute the remaining property according to the Will or according to state law in the absence of a Will
In California, if someone has $150,000 in total assets or real property, they will probably have to have their assets Probated.
Do All Assets Go Through Probate In San Mateo or Santa Clara County?
Not all assets will need to go through Probate. Assets such as retirement accounts or life insurance policies that have specific beneficiary designations (or people named who should receive them) will most likely avoid the expense and delays of the Probate Court.
We realize that Probate can be overwhelming and frustrating, but the purpose of it is to ensure a valid transfer of assets. Because your loved one is unable to “sign on the dotted line” regarding his or her final affairs, the court must appoint someone (the executor) to handle this responsibility and close out the estate.
Do I Need An Attorney to File Probate?
Because Probate is such a time consuming, costly and complicated process, you should seek the help of a Probate attorney local to the San Francisco Bay Area. A skilled attorney will help to ensure that all legal obligations are met and help to speed up the overall process. Working with an attorney will also help you to minimize costs commonly associated with oversights, tax problems and long drawn-out claims.
My Loved One Had a Trust…Can I Avoid Probate?
If your loved one died with a Trust in place, it may be possible to avoid the Probate process. So long as the Trust has stayed updated and your loved one’s assets are properly owned by the Trust, the Trust can be administered privately with the help of your Bay Area Probate attorney. If the Trust was not properly funded (meaning assets were not titled in the name of the Trust) you may still need to go through Probate. Your attorney will help to determine your next steps.
How To Get Help
If you have lost a loved one and must begin the process of closing out his or her final affairs, please give our Menlo Park Probate law firm a call at (650) 321-6796 and ask to schedule a complimentary estate administration session.
Our law firm serves families going through Probate in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, including but not limited to Menlo Park, Atherton, Redwood City, Belmont, San Carlos, San Mateo, Burlingame, Woodside, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Saratoga, Portola Valley, Cupertino, and many more.
We look forward to sitting down with you and/or your family to discuss the next steps that will help you move through Probate in a timely and cost-effective manner. You can also contact us by email here.