Planning ahead is ideal - but doesn't always happen
The ideal situation is for everyone plan ahead. Unfortunately, that does not always happen – people avoid planning their estates for a variety of reasons. We can help guide you through the difficult decisions you might need to make if your loved one did not have a fully funded living trust in place.
Probating the estate
If your family member owned real estate or had assets worth more than $100,000 and died without having those assets in a living trust, it will probably be necessary to probate the estate. We can help you decide if a probate is necessary or if you can use an alternate procedure instead. If it is necessary to initiate a probate proceeding, we can make all of the necessary court appearances.
If the entire estate (including real estate) totals less than $100,000, we can prepare a Small Estate Affidavit that will make probate proceedings unnecessary.
Guiding you through the probate process
If the estate has more real estate or more personal property than that amount, Probate is necessary, even where there is a will. In fact, a will has no legal effect until it is approved by the Probate Court ("admitted to Probate").
It is our job to guide you through the Probate process. That process can be relatively simple or very complicated, depending on several factors including the:
- Size and nature of the assets to be administered
- Number of parties involved
- How well those parties get along; and
- Issues that may arise
In addition to the Probate process itself, the representative must take care of taxes. We oversee the preparation and filing of income tax returns for the decedent and the estate. With careful planning, we can often save tax dollars for those who receive money and property from the estate. If the estate is greater than the Federal Estate Tax exemption ($3,500,000 in 2009), a Federal Estate Tax return (IRS Form 706) must be filed and approved, whether or not Probate is necessary.
If you would like assistance with estate planning, please get started here at our site. Or, phone me today at (650) 325-8276 to schedule a consultation.
Get started >>