Murrieta Probate Litigation

Murrieta Probate Litigation

Murrieta Probate Litigation Attorney

After the death of someone close to you, you may be faced with the prospect of navigating probate court, trust litigation, and other complex and multifaceted estate planning scenarios in Murrieta, CA, and the surrounding areas. If so, you may encounter the need to enlist the services of a reputable probate lawyer, one who is deeply knowledgeable about the court systems and probate processes in California as well as dedicated to protecting your rights and interests. Whether you want to avoid probate, need help understanding trust administration, or are trying to sort out the estate of a recently passed loved one, a relationship with a good estate planning and probate attorney can be a crucial asset.

Lockhart Law Firm is your trusted source for legal assistance of this caliber. Our highly successful probate attorneys stand ready to assist you through even the most complex California probate and litigation scenarios. Our firm can ensure that your assets are protected or that your loved one’s estate is settled fairly and efficiently.

Estate planning issues can be extremely complex legal matters, both before and after the passing of the estate holder in question. Regardless of your role in these matters, it is likely that you have many questions about the process to come, and when litigation becomes involved in probate or trust issues, those questions only multiply. If you need help with probate, please contact Lockhart Law Firm at your earliest convenience for personalized assistance.

How Long Does an Executor Have to Settle an Estate in California?

Per California law, the named executor of an estate typically has one calendar year in which to settle that estate’s affairs and distribute the assets therein to the named heirs. This can be subject to various exemptions and extensions, however.

Some important factors to consider include:

  • The Complexity of the Estate – Estates with complex debts or assets may take more than a calendar year to realistically untangle. Having a quality attorney on your side can help expedite these complicated scenarios.
  • Litigation – In some cases, the execution of an estate may even be pursuant to additional legal action by debtors or heirs, causing the process to get tied up in court. Working with a good trust litigation and probate lawyer can help you navigate this situation swiftly and effectively.
  • Trusts vs. Probate – The length of time it takes to settle an estate will also depend on the type of estate plan in place. An estate that has been effectively transferred to trusts before the estate holder passes away can be finalized much faster than an estate that needs to go through the probate process.
  • The Quality of Your Legal Representation – Remember, having the reputable team from Lockhart Law Firm on your side can make all the difference in moving complicated probate, litigation, trust administration, or other estate planning issues to a positive and timely resolution.

Why Avoid Probate?

One of the reasons many families with high-value assets try to use trust administration to avoid probate court is that the California probate process can be a long, drawn-out affair that keeps heirs waiting for their rightful payout. The amount of time spent in court on some probate cases–particularly if probate litigation gets involved–means that the legal fees involved in probate court can sometimes outpace the legal fees associated with developing a solid estate plan beforehand. Even more importantly, when you avoid probate, full control over your assets stays with you, even beyond your passing.

If the estate in question must go to probate, be forewarned that the California probate process can be a lengthy and complex one. However, with a seasoned probate lawyer from Lockhart Law Firm, you can streamline the process, handle unexpected issues before they can escalate, and ensure that all documents are filed correctly to avoid delays. Whatever is required for the resolution of your estate, we can offer high-quality legal guidance until the estate has been fairly and appropriately settled.

What Is the Average Cost of Probate in California?

Due to the many factors involved, and the large variance between cases, there is usually no “average cost” to settling a legal dispute. Every attorney has their own fee structure, and these can vary quite a bit from firm to firm as well. Your local market conditions, the complexity of your case, and the quality of your legal counsel will all determine the total cost of getting a case settled in your favor in most civil and criminal court matters.

Thankfully, probate fees are a different matter. These fees (which can be paid directly out of the assets in question as part of the process of executing the estate) are set by California law. Under this statutory fee system, an equal amount is paid out to the attorney overseeing the case and the named estate representative, i.e., the executor. These fees are set on a sliding scale that changes with the total assessed value of the estate in question.

Here is the scale, in part, for an educated estimate as to what the fees might be in your particular situation:

  • Gross Value of Estate: $300,000 – Total Fees Paid (1/2 each to attorney and estate representative): $18,000
  • Gross Value of Estate: $500,000 – Total Fees Paid (1/2 each to attorney and estate representative): $26,000
  • Gross Value of Estate: $1 million – Total Fees Paid (1/2 each to attorney and estate representative): $46,000
  • Gross Value of Estate: $5 million – Total Fees Paid (1/2 each to attorney and estate representative): $126,000
  • Gross Value of Estate: $10 million – Total Fees Paid (1/2 each to attorney and estate representative): $226,000

How Does Probate Work in Murrieta, CA?

There is really no such thing as a “typical” probate case because every family, estate, and situation is unique. This becomes especially true if disputes arise or litigation becomes a factor. That being said, here is a basic 5-step outline of how a probate case works:

  1. Filing the Petition – After the death of a loved one, it is important for someone to file the initial petition with the probate court in the California county where the decedent resided. The person to take on this responsibility should be either the executor named in the will or an interested party, such as an heir or spouse, if no will exists or the will is insufficient.
  2. Inventory and Appraisal – Once the case is officially begun, the work of inventorying all the decedent’s assets begins. All property, accounts, and instruments of value must be cataloged and properly assessed.
  3. Debts and Taxes – Debts, as well as assets, must be taken into account. The executor is responsible for using the estate’s assets to settle any debts and pay off any outstanding tax burdens against the estate.
  4. Distribution – The assets that remain after debts and taxes have been taken care of can then be distributed to the beneficiaries per the terms of the will. Lacking a will, the probate court will award the assets to the appropriate heirs per California law.
  5. Closing the Estate – When all assets have been distributed and all other responsibilities are completed, the executor can formally ask the court to close the estate.

Lockhart Law Firm – Powerful Legal Help for Probate, Trust, and Litigation Issues

At Lockhart Law Firm, our probate lawyers have a record of success in all facets of estate planning, trust administration, probate, litigation, and other sensitive areas of California law. Whether you need help settling the affairs of a recently deceased loved one or you’re looking to structure your estate through a trust to avoid probate for your family in the future, we can help you put the necessary legal tools in place. Contact us today for a no-pressure consultation.

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  • 41856 Ivy St, Suite 201
    Murrieta, CA 92562
  • Call Us Now (951) 461-8878
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Disclaimer: The information contained herein is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. You should not act or fail to act based on the information on this website. The content contains general information only, and may not reflect recent changes to the law. All cases differ – please contact an attorney in your area to get legal advice as it pertains to your situation.

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