What is the California Probate Code?

You are probably familiar with the California Probate Code, and the hassles that can come with it, If someone you love has passed away. The California Probate Code governs what happens to the property of a person after they die or become incapacitated. This Code provides provisions that regulate wills and other estate planning instruments, as well as laws that dictate what happens to a person’s possessions after they pass away if they did not have a will.

The California Probate Code can affect your estate because it can dictate how possessions can be passed on, how debts against the estate are settled, what waiting period must be followed before assets transfer, and what assets can skip the probate process entirely. Probate courts make decisions on guardianship for minor and handicapped children or conservatorships for the elderly. The Probate Code even dictates whether or not a will is valid– and if it isn’t (or if there is no will) who inherits. Most importantly, the Probate Code in California specifies what happens during probate (the process by which a deceased person’s estate is assessed, valued, and passed on).

How Does the California Probate Code Affect Me?

It’s easy to assume that the probate code hardly matters to the average person. If you want to take care of your family after you pass away, you need to carefully comply with the provisions in the California Probate Code when creating an estate plan. Otherwise, your best intentions can be thwarted by lesser-known provisions. This can lead to stress for your loved ones during an already difficult time, or even unintended outcomes that may leave individual you want to inherit your estate with nothing.

That’s why it’s important to gain a clear understanding of the Probate Code in California before ever drafting a will or drawing up a trust to bypass the months-long probate process. In fact, we suggest that you get expert help with any documents that may be subject to Probate Court. While the Probate Code isn’t intentionally confusing, it is quite specific, which means that even a small misunderstanding of the Code could have major consequences.

At MAJ, we have a team of experienced California probate attorneys ready to help you ensure that your estate plan complies with the Probate Code and even minimizes the impact of the probate process and other annoyances like estate taxes. Let our probate lawyers help you master the California Probate Code and take care of your loved ones with a carefully thought-out estate plan.