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Probate

There is hardly a more harrowing or emotionally trying time in someone's life than after the loss of someone close. The stress of trying to handle such a loss is more than enough for a single person to try to shoulder without the added strain of the legal complications that such a situation often brings. We want you to know that there is absolutely no reason for you to attempt to handle it on your own. With the experienced help of a knowledgeable probate lawyer, you can breathe easier knowing that the complex, somewhat overwhelming nature of probate law is not being placed fully on you.

After the loss of a family member, friend or loved one, you can discuss your options and obligations with a probate attorney who understands the ins and outs of this emotionally trying and complicated process. You may have been named as the executor by the will or may be a beneficiary. Regardless of your role in this process, our firm can provide you with the guidance, information and representation you need. Our goal will be to assert your rights while honoring your loved one's life and preserving his or her estate. 

Instead of attempting to untangle it all on your own, you can utilize the benefit of the years of experience that the firm has, along with our intimate knowledge of the law. We can help you the process as painlessly as possible, never treating you with anything less that the compassion and dedication that you deserve. You will be given our personalized, one-on-one attention, ensuring that you will never be given detached or apathetic legal advice. Instead, your individual case will be evaluated and your lawyer will craft a customized, tailor-made legal strategy to get you through the process towards your desired result as easily as possible.

Attorney Avner Sofer is an experienced and skilled probate lawyer serving the greater Northern California area with offices throughout the Bay Area. Our firm has helped numerous clients throughout our community with their probate needs, assisting them in all manner of estate and probate issues. There are financial and legal issues to be dealt with, and our founding attorney has the skill to resolve these matters in the most effective and efficient manner possible - even when this is particularly complex due to a lack of will or situation where there are extensive assets or property involved.

Administering a probate can be a complex tax, involving the filing and preparation of legal documents, bonds and petitions. Notices will need to be served in a timely manner. Our dedicated legal staff will direct you in the most effective manner possible to get your probate completed rapidly and efficiently. If any disputes arise, we are ready to provide as much legal assistance as necessary in order to resolve the issues.

Our firm is ready to bring you excellent legal advice in the following areas of probate law:

  • Estate Planning
  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Trust & Estate Litigation
  • Conservatorships
  • Guardianships
  • Power of Attorney
  • Codicils
  • Fiduciary Litigation
  • Asset Protection
  • Will Contests

When you have questions about the probate process, you have come to the right place when seeking a caring and compassionate attorney who understands the difficulties you may be going through following a loss. Handling the estate of a loved one, or establishing a trust to protect future assets are very important issues that need to be addressed through competent legal advice. Attorney Sofer provides personalized attention to each client, bringing them the legal expertise they need to handle their particular situation.

Although probate handles the administration of a decedent's estate, you can prepare for this eventuality by planning ahead. In order to protect your assets and ensure you suffer the least amount of tax liabilities, as well as ensure the people you choose receive the benefits of your life time of hard work, our probate lawyer can work with you to establish the best solution for your circumstances. Through estate planning and proper will formation, your goals can be accomplished.

Our firm also works to resolve disputes when wills are contested, or to handle fiduciary responsibility litigation. Our probate legal team has extensive experience in these matters.

 

Is Your Right to Inherit in Jeopardy?

One can inherit through a will, trust or by law.  Where the decedent has left a will or trust, the decedent chooses who will inherit by the terms of such document.  If you are pleased with the disposition, you will want the will submitted to the court in a probate action and its terms implemented, or in the case of the trust, you will want to ensure that the trustee distributes the assets in the manner dictated by the terms of the trust.  However if you are displeased by the will or trust, all hope is not lost.  The will or trust may be invalid for a number of reasons.  It may not have been done in the legally prescribed manner.  It may be a forgery or have been replaced or modified by a later document.  The writer may have been of unsound mind or under undue influence or duress.  If you are a spouse, you have rights which may not set aside.  If the decedent left no will or trust, on the other hand, the law determines how the property is to be divided.  As the laws of inheritance can be complex, it is recommended that you protect your inheritance rights by contacting a Probate & Trust.

Energetic and Knowledgeable Inheritance Rights Attorney

Sofer law is available to serve you in the Northern California area.  We are a seasoned inheritance rights firm dedicated to the vigilant protection of our clients' rights.  If you are engaged in an inheritance rights matter, we would be pleased to meet with you. 

If you are looking ahead and want to make sure your own estate is handled as you desire, we may assist you in the preparation of your will so that legal pitfalls may be avoided and your intentions reign supreme.

If you are currently in a situation where you’ll be dealing with the California state court system in relation to a probate or estate related matter, or if you think that you will be in this kind of situation in the near future, it is important that you hire an attorney that knows the ins and outs of California probate law.

Probate law has to do with the handling of an estate when someone, such as a family member or other loved one, passes away. These are the laws that make sure that the creditors are paid properly and that assets are distributed to the “ heirs,” or the descendant. When you find yourself in a situation where you’ll be dealing with probate law, it’s a good idea to already have in mind what you are going to need to do.

What exactly is Probate? Probate is a legal process that begins with a “petition” (a request) to open the estate and name a personal representative who is responsible for the administration of the deceased’s property. The next step is when an official Notice of Creditors is printed in a local newspaper and Notice of Administration is sent to other involved parties. Creditors then have a set amount of time to file their claims from the first date of publication. Then the personal representative can pay the debt and distribute the remaining estate. Finally, a petition for discharge is filed, and the estate is closed.

While on one hand, this may sound simple, probate law and the handling of estates is in fact a complex system, which presents you with multiple requirements and tasks to be performed by the personal representative, an experienced attorney and a tax consultant. For example, an estate including only a single house and single bank account that has been left to a single beneficiary will probably be a far easier and quicker process to deal with than an estate containing multiple houses that are located in various states, and that are left to multiple beneficiaries. This becomes especially difficult if an estate includes leaving assets to a minor.

California Probate Codes

In order to get through the California probate process without any hang-ups or snags, you will need to understand how the procedure works. This will allow you to plan ahead, with respect to different tasks that the personal representative handles. If you don’t know much about the probate process, you will want to look for an attorney who does and who can help you with your particular case. You’ll also need to know what a “petition” is, and how it is filed with the court clerk. If your case requires it, you might need to file a formal objection in writing at or before the hearing, which usually means that you have to act fast and get things done quickly, so that you don’t miss important deadlines. Finally, the personal representative, among other things, is responsible for taking the inventory and appraisal of the estate in question, with respect to the probate process. People with experience in matters like these, namely attorneys, often make the process easier and less stressful.

The importance of understanding how probate procedures work is essential to having a successful probate experience. Information explaining the probate process is available to every American citizen through their given state. However, that information is complex and uses a strictly formal language, which makes it very difficult to understand for many people. Deadlines are important factors in the California probate process. If deadlines are not met, your case will most likely be delayed and there will be a greater chance that something could go wrong, which is one of the reasons why it’s a good idea to seek legal help. Another factor of the probate process that can be difficult without the help of an attorney, is the writing of formal letters, to which the personal representative is obligated. There are particular formats that are to be followed in accordance with the State of California; and if they are not, procedures can get held up and end up taking longer than they should or need to.

If you are a “petitioner” and are absent from the country or unable to verify a petition, you should know that your attorney can do it for you. What you can see from this bit of information is that attorneys can help you manage responsibility that the state places on you, so that everything is handled in a legal fashion, and you end up getting all that you deserve and are entitled to. The verifying of petitions, which is only one of the many obligations of the personal representative, is extremely important to the probate process in California, since it is the very action which sets the whole process in motion.

“Reports” and “accounts” in California can be verified by anyone who has that duty, and if there is more than one of them, only one is necessary. This means there may be only one person to take part in these processes, so as to allow them to go through more smoothly. Hiring an attorney is one way to assure such an end. By having an attorney on your side consulting with you in the decision making process, you’ll have a better chance to get through your probate matters with greater ease and less stress, and at the same time receiving all that is due to you.

In California, someone can make a “response or objection” at or before the probate hearing. This is important, because it often means that the personal representative will have to deal with out-of-the-ordinary procedures, which would be difficult and complex without the help of an attorney. The court will either hear this kind of response or object it then and there. They may also call for a “continuance”, in order to set aside time for this in the future, if it looks like it may be an issue that will require more time to resolve than the court has available. When such is the case, you’re best off with an attorney, who will make sure that matters are handled as you wish them to be.

Requests for continuances are not acknowledged in California as objections or responses themselves; nor are those requests that are made outside of the time limit set by the state. This is important for a number of reasons. First off, if you need to file a formal objection or response, you’ll need to be aware of these deadlines, so that you have your documentation in on time. Secondly, if you’re a personal representative and someone is going to present a formal objection or response at your probate hearing, you’ll need to know how it should be handled, which is another reason why hiring an attorney makes probate much easier.

In California, the “guardian” or “conservator” has 90 days to present the court clerk with an inventory that includes a “true statement” of the estate of the “conservatee”. This oath must be endorsed, in order for the probate process to move onward. Attorneys often help guardians in cases such as these, given that attorneys are familiar with this process and know reputable appraisers. The formality of this documentation sometimes makes it difficult for people who don’t have much experience in the law to handle it on their own.

The inventory that is to be included on this list must be appraised as is provided by the State of California, with respect to estates and decedents. That means anyone who needs to write up such an inventory will need to know the format that California has designed. For this reason, many people find it helpful to have legal consultation throughout the process. Attorneys with experience in matters such as these are beneficial to you and the success of your efforts.

As you can see, handling Probate laws is not an easy thing to go through or deal with, which is one of the many reasons why it’s often a good idea to hire an attorney experienced in the field of California probate law to help you with the matter. Having an attorney on your side will help you make sure that the estate and assets of your loved one’s particular case are handled in a proper and legal fashion.

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