In the state of California, whether you have a written will or not, your estate will go through probate upon your death, if it meets a minimum threshold and you do not have a living trust. Here at The Law Office of Matthew C. Yu, we understand the intricacies of probate law, and we help our clients through the process.
According to the California Courts, probate is a process through which the court analyzes several factors, including outstanding debts connected to your estate, as well as the division of assets among your heirs. The court will first determine if you had a valid will, then distribute your estate accordingly. If you do not have a will, the court must follow the state's intestacy law. It will also appoint an administrator to execute the division of your estate. Otherwise, the executor of the estate that you have appointed in your will is responsible for putting your estate in order. This process, including the payment of remaining debt as well as the collection and distribution of assets, may take more than a year to complete under the court's supervision.
If your estate includes property worth at least $20,000, or assets totaling at least $150,000, it will enter probate. Joint tenancy may not necessarily avoid probate. It may delay the process, but probate then takes place after both people have passed. Adding another joint tenant upon the death of one may cause unnecessary complications to the estate. More information about the process of asset division is available on our web page.