How to Deal with an Inheritance

Written by on January 20, 2013 in Family - No comments | Print this page


inhertitanceHaving to deal with the passing of a loved one is an incredibly tough thing to do. Depending on your relationship with him or her, you may be named as executor of the will. This means that you will have to take care of all of the deceased’s matters, from bills to property and possessions.

Sometimes you will just be named as part of the inheritance, and you don’t have to worry about the stress associated with dealing with the deceased’s estate. If you are named as an executor or have inherited the estate of the deceased, you’ll want a California probate attorney to help you.

If the deceased held over $150,000 in total assets or they owned real property that is valued at over $50,000, then the will goes to probate. Probate is a court-supervised procedure that will do the following:

  • They will prove that the will is valid.
  • They will name an administrator if no executor was named in the will.
  • They will take inventory of the deceased’s belongings and appraise the estate property.
  • Help to distribute the property as directed by the will.
  • Pay debts and taxes, which include estate taxes.

Probate is begun when the individual who was designated executor in the will files the will with the court and then files a petition with the probate court. If there was no will then the closest relative of the deceased tends to file the petition.

What is and isn’t Subject to Probate?
The assets that are solely owned by the deceased are all subject to probate. The only assets not subject to probate include the following:

  • Bank accounts that are titled as Transfers on Death
  • Life Insurance
  • Some retirement accounts

Knowing what is and isn’t subject to probate is something a probate lawyer will be able to inform you about.

The California Probate court charges legal fees based on the percentage of the size of the probate estate. The first $100,000 in assets are charged 4 percent. The higher the assets the smaller the percentage gets from there.

Tax is a whole different thing. Only seven states still charge an inheritance tax, but an estate tax is still charged throughout the country. If the estate is left to the spouse of the deceased, then it cannot be taxed. Anyone else that inherits the estate will only be taxed if the estate is worth more than $5 million.

Dealing with the many inheritance laws can be real stressful, especially as you are trying to cope with the loss of a loved one. For this reason it is recommended that you contact a California probate attorney to help you with the process.

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This is a guest post.  Eric Regan is a part of a writing team that has been published on many different sites and blogs on a variety of different interests and industries.


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