First misconception about the probate system is that if you leave a will behind, you can get past it. A will is generally a hand written document, wherein you state your wishes, regarding distribution of property and other assets. Learn about all of these and more from your Estate Planning Attorney.
There are different kinds of wills, like Self-proving will, Holographic will, Oral will and Living will. You need a will, so that your hard earned assets do not go to someone other than your intended person.
The main step about wills, of any sort is that, you need to get them notarized. Otherwise, they have no value. Probate comes into existence, when there is no notarization or legal enforcement of your will.
Second misconception about probate is that, it is cheap. Read it here, it is not. It can leave your family in doldrums.
Who goes through it?
If you have a home in California, you will go through probate. It does not matter, if you have any other asset or not. Under other circumstances, you will likely have to go through probate if you have assets worth $ 150,000 or more. If you have assets lesser than this value, you will go through smaller probates or affidavits.
How to avoid it?
You can consult your Estate Planning Attorney for this. We suggest you to set up a revocable trust. It is also known as a family trust. It is a trust through, which you hold your assets, when alive. After death, you can have a designated member to carry on your responsibilities, as per guidelines set by you.
How is probate handled?
Once a probate is filed, a notice must be published in the papers. Creditors, heirs, other stake holders who have some interest in the assets are asked to respond in 120 days. Those, who miss the limit, are disqualified.
Having said all of these, when you fall into the situation you need expert advice. What better way, than an Estate Planning Attorney!