Everybody has a ’will’ or plan, whether created or by default. Even if you have not made out a will or a trust, you still have a plan- a plan dictated by the laws of the state where you reside upon your death. Making a will is not a way to avoid “probate”, the court procedure that changes the legal ownership of your property after your death. Probate makes sure it is your last valid will, appoints the executor named in your will and supervises the executor’s work. You can do several things that can help your executor and family later, hopefully much later on.
No. The will must be admitted to probate and the estate of the decedent must be “probated.”
Probate is a court proceeding that administers the estate of an individual.
A public administrator is a person or entity appointed by the State to act when there is no will or relatives.
When one is said to have died “Testate,” it means he or she died leaving a will. If one is said to have died “Intestate,” it means he or she died without leaving a will.
There are five purposes, many of which have subsets to them:
To determine that the decedent is in fact dead; To establish the validity of the will; To identify the heirs and devisees of the decedent; To settle any claims that creditors may have against the estate of the decedent; To distribute the property
An “executor” carries out the directions and requests set forth in the decedent’s will. An “administrator” is appointed by the court to manage the estate of a decedent who dies intestate.
Yes. Without getting into too much detail it can be sold either at private sale in which the executor of the estate negotiates a transaction with a buyer or at public sale in which the property is sold at public auction.
Sections 6400 through 6414 of the California Probate Code addresses intestate succession and the distributions. The method and manner of intestate distributions is quite complex and therefore one should specifically discuss intestate distributions with his or her legal advisor.