Whether or not you have created a will or trust, you will still have a plan which has been dictated by the laws of the state in which you reside. Making a will is not a way to avoid “probate,” the legal state which administers your estate after your death. Probate is necessary to validate your will, and appoint the executor named in your will and supervises the executor’s work. Here are some helpful facts that will assist the executor and family:
Q: I have a will that distributes the decedent’s estate to me. Is that all that is needed?
A: No. The will must be admitted to probate and the estate of the decedent must be “probated.”
Q: What does “probate” actually mean?
A: Generally, a probate is a court proceeding that administers the estate of the individual.
Q: What is the purpose of “estate administration?”
A: There are typically 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
Q: What is the Public Administrator?
A:The Public Administrator serves as a fiduciary capacity to provide professional estate management services to county residents who dies without someone able to handle their affairs. The powers of the Public Administrator are mandated by the Probate Code of the State of California.
Q: What is the difference between “Testate” and “Intestate?”
A: “Testate” means that he/she died leaving a will. “Intestate” means that they died without leaving a will.
Q: What are the differences between an executor and an administrator?
A: An “executor” carries out the instructions 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.