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Probate deals with the transfer of property after someone dies to their heirs and or beneficiaries. Probate court takes a close examination of the deceased person’s assets, debts, and expenses and distributes the estate in a manner consistent with the law and the personal wishes of the deceased if they left a will or trust.

California Probate Law

California probate law is very complicated and having an attorney represent your interests is essential to protecting your rights whether you are planning how you want your estate distributed after your own death or you are a potential beneficiary in a probate case.

While it is possible to leave a simple handwritten will or use a self-help kit to prepare a will, having an experienced attorney craft your will or trust ensures that your wishes will be more precisely defined and more easily accepted by the court and all other parties involved. It is also important that your will fully comply with probate law or things could get messy in probate court. Unfortunately, self-created wills often don’t comply with the law.

Eliminate Probate Court Altogether

If there is more than one heir and or beneficiary, the often lengthy probate process can be divisive and cause hard feelings within families. We can help reduce this possibility by crafting a will that very clearly defines how you want your estate handled. We can also set things up so that the process is expedited as much as possible. In fact, we can often eliminate the need to go through probate court entirely by establishing a revocable trust. This has the added advantage of minimizing the gift tax and estate tax.

If you have an heir that has special needs and is receiving federal or state funding, we can help you set up a trust to provide financial support without interfering with the funding they are already receiving. We can also help you set up a trust that will require prerequisites in order to receive the inheritance. For example, you may not want your grandchildren to receive benefits until they are thirty years old or have completed a four year college degree program. You can even use a trust to provide financial support for your pets in a precisely defined way after you pass.

Choosing a conservator is one of the most essential decisions in estate planning. We can help you weigh the pros and cons in selecting a family member versus a private fiduciary. Everyone’s situation is unique and we will take the time to understand your situation fully so we can give you the best legal advice possible for your specific set of circumstances.

Unfortunately, legal action sometimes becomes necessary to protect your rights in the probate process. We have a great deal of experience in this area and can provide you with excellent legal services during the pre-trial, trial, and appeal phases of probate. We are also quite skilled at negotiating a fair settlement so you can avoid the emotional and financial hardships that probate court can entail. This can also help avoid rifts within families.

Over 70 Years of Probate Experience

Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt provides legal services in all areas of probate law including estate planning, probate trusts, estate litigation, guardianships, and conservatorships. After more than seventy years of dedicated service, we have earned the trust and respect of our clients and colleagues. We treat each of our clients with the upmost respect and evaluate their situation on an individual basis to provide fully customized legal services.