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Santa Barbara Probate Attorneys

Probate can be complex, headache-inducing, and long-winded – but it does not have to be. While the probate process is often an annoyance, there is more to dealing with probate than outright trying to avoid it. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so a clear understanding of the law and how it applies to families with different circumstances is crucial. 

At Werner Law Firm, our Santa Barabara probate attorneys and legal team have worked on probate matters with families in California for over four decades, and we understand how important it is to identify the right approach. As dedicated probate attorneys, we are here to help your family better manage and overcome the challenges of probate.

7 W. Figueroa St., Suite 200,
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

805-617-0799

Navigating the Probate Process Together

Probate in California begins after a loved one has passed away. Starting the probate process is simple enough, and requires filing a petition with the local county court. In the petition, an individual (usually a relative of the deceased/decedent) will file a petition to begin the probate process, with a death certificate and, if it exists, the decedent’s last will and testament. 

Alongside overseeing the evaluation and distribution of a decedent’s estate, the probate process is also meant to settle any existing disputes regarding the decedent’s will, ensuring that the right will is given proper legitimacy. Such disputes can typically be avoided by devising an airtight and carefully built estate plan with an estate planning professional. 

Once the courts begin the probate process, the first matter at hand is the assigning of a willing and able administrator to oversee the execution of the will. Some individuals choose their own executors, naming them in their will or estate plan. Others are assigned by the courts based on their relationship to the decedent, as well as their competence. The decedent’s spouse or eldest child is a common choice. If none feel up to the task, a third party may be appointed and chosen by the court – this is typically a probate attorney, or someone else with a fiduciary responsibility to the decedent and their beneficiaries. 

Once an executor is chosen, the probate process can begin. The more complicated the estate, the longer typically the probate process takes. However, that is where the services of a reputable probate attorney come into use. Here at Werner Law Firm, our decades of experience afford us the ability to navigate even the most complex estates, and help families dealing with a monstrous and painstaking probate process reduce their worries down to the minimum.

With larger estates, the margin for error grows. Because the bulk of the legwork during the probate process lies in accurately accounting for every item in a person’s probate, and ensuring that all documents and deeds accurately reflect the decedent’s wishes and estate plan, it is important to handle these matters properly. Diligence is critical, and here at the Werner Law Firm, our Santa Barbara probate attorneys work hard to make the process as easy as possible for our clients.

Trusted Santa Barbara Probate Attorneys & Advice

The probate process typically lasts for about a year but can last much longer. The factors involved in determining the cost and length of probate typically involve the size and complexity of the estate, as well as any existing estate disputes, title problems, clerical errors, a large group of beneficiaries, unusual or complicated assets (from racehorses to patents), and more. In many cases, professional help can drastically improve the speed and outcome of the process.

Putting our years of experience to use, we help clients untangle the complexities of probate and turn a confusing situation into one where the path forward is clear and tangible. The death of a loved one should be a time for grieving, not one for dealing with legal paperwork, filing various petitions, or writing public notices to creditors. We hope to demystify the probate process and help our clients minimize the time and effort needed to unravel probate.

Providing Free Initial Consultations

As a full-service law firm, we represent clients with passion and commitment to their particular needs. During a free case evaluation, we closely assess each aspect of the individual’s or family’s case. From there, we can develop a unique strategy based on the personal attributes of the case. After developing a case strategy, we will work relentlessly on our client’s behalf to resolve the specifics of the legal matter at hand. Whether you want to protect your estate or you have suffered injuries from a dog bite, we are prepared to be your guide through each step of the legal process. Please do not hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience.

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