The time immediately following the death of a loved one is often stressful and confusing. While coping with fresh grief, a family must follow the burial wishes of their loved ones before dealing with the estate. Once the will is found and an executor is named, the process of probate begins, leading to many potential problems. People do not deal with probate often and it is not unusual for family members to become anxious as they wait for legal manners to conclude. While the role of executor is a difficult one under normal circumstances, failing to communicate with the beneficiaries can make the task even harder. Giving precedence to maintaining probate transparency may seem unnecessarily time consuming, but it may help an executor avoid court battles and other interfamily disputes.
Prevents Accusations of Impropriety
The process of probate is confusing and often difficult to understand, making some people naturally suspicious of the process. Failing to keep beneficiaries informed about the actions of the estate can heighten their suspicion, leading to complaints and accusation. Sending regular reports about the status of the estate, talking to family members, and constantly reminding those to whom you have already spoken about what is happening with the estate helps prevent rumors of impropriety. Maintaining probate transparency reassures the heirs that the estate is being handled properly and that the final distribution is fair.
Speeds up the Process by Avoiding Conflict
No matter how organized a will is and how meticulous the records kept by the executor are, probate takes time. Under ideal circumstances, probate for an estate with a value of more than $150,000 can take eight months to a year. However, if a family begins fighting over assets or other issues related to the will or property, the probate process can take longer. Beneficiaries who were already upset about the time spent in probate may begin voicing their own complaints, further complicating things. Discussing all actions with beneficiaries and providing them with regular written notices helps to avoid conflict that can cause stress and inconvenience for everyone.
Keeps Heirs Involved
Making sure all transactions associated with the estate are transparent also helps keep the beneficiaries involved in the process. Even if an heir is not interested in the tedious duties often associated with being an executor, they will appreciate being informed on what is being done. Discussing bills the estate is paying, heirs that need to be located, tax returns that must be filed, and more keeps everyone involved in the proceedings, often uniting a family during a time in which everyone can benefit from moral support.
Contact an Attorney
During probate, it is not unusual for people to have questions and concerns that their family members simply cannot answer adequately. When this happens, the assistance of a qualified probate attorney becomes invaluable. If you or your family members have questions about the probate process, MMZ LAW is here to help you. Conveniently located in Claremont, California, we are available to provide you with a consultation to discuss your unique circumstances. Contact us at 909-256-6702 today to schedule an appointment.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
MMZ LAW, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION
341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711
MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of Trust and Estate, Elder Law, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration and Probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont and assists clients throughout Southern California.
|This information is educational information only and not legal advice.|