Benefits of Probate
When Probate Can be a Good Thing
In Santa Clara County, the Probate Division of the Superior Court located
at the Downtown Superior Courthouse handles probate proceedings for decedent's
who resided in Santa Clara County prior to their passing. Although there
are definitely certain legal maneuvers strategically taken to avoid the
probate process, in some cases probate is a valuable procedure which protects
the inheritance rights of beneficiaries.
probate is the court-supervised process that transfers legal title of property
from the decedent's estate to his or her beneficiaries. This process
begins when the person named in the will (the executor) is officially
appointed by the court. One of the immediate benefits of having this procedure
court-supervised is that the personal representative or executor is required
to comply with specific legal procedures in accordance with California
Beneficiaries and those with an interest in the estate can take comfort
in the fact that the executor does not have free reign over his or her
duties, and there are legal remedies available if the beneficiaries feel
that the personal representative is acting dishonestly or mismanaging
the estate. Other benefits of probate include:
- The personal representative cannot pay themselves without court approval.
- The personal representative cannot make preliminary distributions of property
to beneficiaries without court approval (with a few exceptions).
- If the personal representative improperly manages assets or fails to pay
claims on the estate, the court can order his or her removal.
- If someone objects to the will, there are legal remedies available.
- The executor is required to file final state and federal income tax returns
on behalf of the decedent.
wills are filed with probate court they are usually available for public viewing.
- As an heir, you will receive automatic notice when certain petitions are
filed and this includes the petition for appointment of a personal representative.
Need a lawyer for probate in San Jose?
Without the probate court and probate proceedings, a fiduciary or personal
representative (executor, administrator) could abuse their power and authority.
While there are many honest personal representatives that act in good
faith, there are those select individuals who would take advantage of
their position if laws weren't set in place to shield heirs from such
unscrupulous practices. For this reason, every state has enacted stringent
probate laws designed to preserve estate assets and protect heirs and
beneficiaries so that they can receive their rightful share from an estate.
If you need assistance with an
estate planning or probate matter, please contact me at the
Law Offices of Timothy D. Henry. As your San Jose probate and estate planning lawyer, I can be reached
at (408) 643-0942 for a free consultation.