If you are dealing with an estate that has to go through the probate process in California, your smartest move is likely going to be to work with a Orange County probate lawyer. There are cases where very simple estates will move through fairly easily, but there is still a matter of paperwork, accounting, etc. to consider; and a probate lawyer can save you an incredible amount of time and hassle.
The best way to avoid the need for a probate lawyer in Orange County is to make sure that your estate planning has been done in advance. This means that you’ve set up wills, trusts, and any other applicable legal documents so that those you leave behind won’t have to deal with taking the entire estate through the court system. Trusts, such as a revocable living trust, are one of the most common tools for avoiding probate, but there are some other possible options.
Some people think that having a will means that your estate will bypass the process. Any reputable probate lawyer in Orange County will tell you, however, that this isn’t the case. Having a will is certainly still important, as it provides important directions for the dissemination of your estate, but it doesn’t get your heirs off the hook when it comes to probate.
If the estate is truly a “small” one, then you may be able to avoid probate. This can happen in cases where they’re the only thing left behind is personal property. In these situations, there is no real estate to be inherited. The laws regarding the allowable value of an estate to be considered in this group do change, so it might be helpful to at least chat with an Orange County probate lawyer to see if the estate qualifies. If so, the heir may be able to create an affidavit that will work instead of going through probate. There may also be some simplified court procedures available to heirs of these very small estates.
These are just a couple of tips available to those who want to avoid the eventual need for a probate lawyer. If they have not been put into place, or you’re not sure if these rules apply to you, it’s advisable to speak with a qualified attorney in advance.