What is a Probate and Why Do I Need One?
You find out you need a probate in Sacramento. But now you’re wondering, “What is a probate? Why is probate needed?”
Here are your answers in under 90 seconds:
A probate is a court case. That’s it. But the point of the case is to get “Letters,” which is a fancy way of saying “authority to manage the estate of a deceased person, pay the debts, and hand out the remainder to the heirs of the estate.” Without these Letters, your death certificates, birth certificates, and family photo albums won’t matter to the branch manager of your late father’s bank when you need the money in the account to pay dad’s mortgage. Since you can’t just walk into a bank and demand money without authority, you’ll need to open a probate case to get appointed. A court order isn’t enough – you’ll need the Letters that the clerk will provide so that you can access bank accounts, financial records, tax information, and more.
Sounds easy, right? To the untrained, there are plenty of ways that a request to open a case will get denied. Currently, Sacramento probate attorneys are quoting months to get a probate hearing date. Even the slightest error will cost you additional time. As a Roseville probate attorney, I see cases scheduled faster in Placer County than my Sacramento cases. But you can’t just pick which court to use (except in very rare circumstances). And when the risk of getting something wrong is that the bank will foreclose on the family home, you can’t waste any time getting access to those accounts.
Also, you have to report to the court every dime you touch. And you can’t just sell a house without following the right steps, or you could be personally liable. Creditors will come after you personally if you don’t pay them what they are owed. If you’re not careful, a creditor can come out of nowhere and demand you pay or sue to get payment. That’s why you need a probate attorney to help you.
As an experienced probate attorney, our firm is here help you avoid errors and get your case done right the first time. We do not take fees until the probate is completed. Give us a call for a free consultation and we’ll tell you if a probate is right for you.