Losing a loved one is an incredibly emotional and stressful time.  There are certain legal steps that need to be addressed whether your loved one made an estate plan, or if you believe that their estate will be administered through a probate process.

When you have death certificates in hand, you should seek the advice of an attorney to assist in administering your loved one’s estate.

Probate is when the court supervises the processes that transfer legal title of property from the estate of the person who has died (the “decedent”) to his or her legal heirs as defined by law.  In California, your estate will be probated if you did not create a living trust during your lifetime and owned real property greater than $50,000.00 or have assets titled in your name alone totaling $150,000.00 or more.

If your loved one prepared a living trust, the process of transferring assets to beneficiaries is called trust administration.  Although a living trust avoids probate, there are still important steps that the trustee of the trust must follow in order to administer the trust legally.

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