Thousand Oaks Estate Planning Law Firm
When a person passes away, loved ones and the existing financial situation are left behind. Exactly what needs to be done and when, are common questions. Administering any estate involves legal, tax, financial, and personal issues. Our attorneys have provided trusted guidance after the death of a loved one for hundreds of estates throughout Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Moorpark, Camarillo and Agoura, guiding and serving the unique needs of each family.
Because of the legal and tax complexities involved in the administration of any estate, it is strongly recommended that the Personal Representative of the estate (Executor, Administrator, or Trustee) retain the services of an experienced estate administration attorney. This is particularly so because the Personal Representative has personal liability for all of his/her actions. One wrong step or the failure to account for all estate assets could cause the Personal Representative to be personally liable and have to dip into his own pocket to pay for his mistakes. Learn more about the various legal processes that help families prepare for or manage affairs following a death.
Probate administration is a court proceeding that generally lasts between 9 months and 1½ years. The basic purpose of a probate is to transfer assets from the dead to the living and pay all debts and taxes of the decedent before the assets are transferred to the beneficiaries. All legal requirements must be satisfied throughout the probate process before a court order will be issued directing the transfer of the estate to the rightful beneficiaries.
Learn more about Probate.
Much of the public has heard that implementing a living trust avoids the court probate process. This understanding is correct and constitutes the major reason a person uses a trust as their main estate vehicle as opposed to a will. However, much of the public automatically assumes that if no probate is required, then nothing needs to be done when a creator of a trust passes away. In other words, when a person with a trust dies, there is no administration required at all. This assumption simply is not true, and legal guidance after death is essential.
Learn more about Trust Administration.
In California, conservatorships are created by the court to protect incapacitated adults. In California, we have two types of conservatorships: “Conservatorship of the Person” and “Conservatorship of the Estate.” The difference is a Conservatorship of the Person oversees the personal affairs of the individual, while the Conservatorship of the Estate handles the financial affairs. Read more about Conservatorship.
A guardianship is created to manage the affairs of a minor person. There are a few situations where this is common. For example, deceased parents or unfit parents (because of drug use, alcohol abuse or other mental disability). Read more about Guardianship.