Probate is a legal proceeding to oversee the transfer of a deceased person's assets to the beneficiaries set forth in a will or to the heirs at law of the deceased person. The assets subject to a probate are those which remain in the decedent's name at death with a total value greater than $100,000.00. Generally, a probate proceeding lasts between 9 to 12 months, but can last 18 or more months particularly if there are assets to be sold or disputes arise amongst beneficiaries.
We represent the personal representative (the executor or the administrator) of an estate before the court. We are well respected by the probate judges in downtown San Diego and the North County Probate Courts. When necessary, we negotiate with creditors, negotiate sales, and defend the estate from contests. In many cases, we are able to make all appearances before the court on the client's behalf.
A large part of our practice is advising our clients as successor trustee of a trust or as executor of an estate in which we have prepared the trust instrument or will. A typical example is where we have prepared an A-B living trust for a married couple, one of the spouses has passed away, and the surviving spouse needs advisement and representation in settling the trust.
We understand that the death of a loved one is a huge emotional, and perhaps financial, loss. We make our clients' job as trustee/executor as easy as possible by clearly mapping out and explaining each step involved in the estate settlement process.
In many cases, we will prepare estate tax returns, if required, and we work closely with the clients' income tax preparer concerning the preparation of final income and fiduciary income tax returns.
The death of a spouse, parent, or other relative or friend is never easy to handle. We provide peace of mind in knowing that the legal and tax aspects of settling a trust or estate are competently and efficiently handled.