At Werner Law Firm, we have been helping clients through the challenging probate process for over 40 years. As Southern California probate lawyers, we deliver personalized, quality legal assistance in a wide range of trust and estate matters, including probate and trust administration. If you are dealing with the death of a loved one, you should not hesitate to schedule a meeting with us immediately. We can let you know what to expect, offer advice, and start helping to guide you through the process.
Since 1975, Werner Law Firm's probate lawyers have provided award-winning legal services throughout these major cities in Southern California:
What Is Probate?
Probate court addresses the assets of an individual’s estate when they pass away. It is a long and slow process, but can be a necessary one. One of the primary goals of estate planning (wills, trusts, etc.) is to avoid probate. Not only does the creation of such instruments save time for the next generation inheriting such assets, but the costs and attorneys fees associated with probate are better avoided where possible.
However, there are certain situations where probate is unavoidable, and our firm is experienced, well-versed in probate procedures, and dedicated to making the process as smooth and quick as possible for our clients.
If a loved one passes away with a simple will naming you as a beneficiary, or if you are a family member and they had no will, then steps will need to be taken to address their assets. Such steps depend largely on the nature and value of their assets. If you have any questions regarding the steps you need to take, feel free to contact us for a free telephone consultation. We will listen to your situation and figure out what needs to be done moving forward.
Note that our firm often fronts the costs associated with probate and that attorney’s fees are not collected until the close of the estate, so generally no out of pocket payments are necessary by our probate clients to retain us. Attorney’s fees are based on a statutory fee schedule that rises with the gross value of the estate.
The probate process, on average, takes about a year. We must petition the court to admit a will to probate, or if there is no will, to open the estate and appoint an administrator to represent the estate. Once an administrator or personal representative is appointed, that person then has the authority to act on behalf of the estate, communicate with banks and other financial institutions, and conduct any other business necessary to close the estate. What is generally the largest task within probate is the accounting, wherein the Court needs to be presented with an accounting of any and all assets and debts within the estate, and ultimately what will be done with them.
Trusted Guidance for Each Stage of the Probate Process
To those who are not familiar with estate planning and probate law, the entire process can be very intimidating. If your loved one has passed away without a trust or proper estate plan in place, our team is ready to assist you with every step along the way.
Our wide range of legal services include:
- Draft proper documents.
- File petitions with probate courts.
- Identify heirs and beneficiaries.
- Inventory the extent of the estate.
- Appraise large assets – homes, heirlooms, etc.
- Address any debts or owed taxes.
- Serve notices to applicable parties.
As you navigate the probate process, you may come across major complications that you will not want to handle on your own. When assets need to be managed and distributed, disputes may arise between the beneficiaries and trustees. Our probate lawyers can assist with trust and probate litigation while keeping your best interests in mind. Our goal is to ensure that the decedent’s will is distributed according to their wishes and to protect the rights of individuals involved in the process.
Caring Legal Representation You Can Trust
Our probate lawyers are highly trained to handle all probate matters that may arise. We understand that this is a sensitive matter that must be addressed with delicacy, but must also be handled in a manner that ensures that your interests are not neglected. By offering free, initial consultations, our attorneys can discuss your particular situation and start forming a personally tailored solution that is right for you.