Available documents can dictate asset transfer during probate

After a loved one’s passing, many California residents may wonder how the remaining assets will be distributed. Hopefully, the decedent will have created an estate plan while he or she was still living, and the information in that plan can determine what process is needed for transferring assets. Commonly, probate proceedings handle these affairs.

If a person created a will, the document will be presented to the probate court for validation. After validation, the terms of the will dictate who gets what when it comes to distributing the remaining estate assets. Typically, property distribution is one of the last steps of probate as some estate assets may be needed to repay debts and handle other probate-related expenses. Of course, not everyone creates an estate plan.

If no will or other estate planning documents exist, the remaining estate assets will still need to go through probate proceedings. Rather than following the instructions left behind in a will, however, state intestate laws will determine which surviving loved ones receive assets. Additionally, a will can appoint an executor to handle probate, but without a will, the court will need to appoint an administrator.

The transfer of assets during probate is often the main point of focus for many surviving loved ones. Still, the process can be long and difficult depending on the estate, and beneficiaries and heirs may need to wait before they can obtain their intended assets. Individuals who have questions about receiving assets or how to appropriately distribute assets as the executor or administrator may want to work with knowledgeable California attorneys during this time.