21 Jun Probate: A Tragic Consequence of the Pandemic
COVID is proving to be a very cunning adversary. Experts continue to learn about and respect COVID’s nuances because it’s still the one in control. While the disease is most dangerous for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions, it transcends demographics. It’s affecting those who are healthy, athletic, young and strong.
Probate has emerged as an unfortunate consequence of COVID
Tragically, thousands of people, including our health care workers, are dying from this disease every single day. Many never created a Will or Living Trust. Their families, still reeling from the shock of a tragic death, are now having to deal with Probate. They’re tackling the challenges of administering an estate during a pandemic when everything is infinitely more difficult.
California Document Preparers guides our clients through the entire Probate process
While Probate can seem overwhelming, it is actually a very methodical process. Best of all, we guide you through the entire process, and we prepare the legal documents.
As part of Probate, the Court appoints a personal representative, or Administrator, to settle the estate, so we work directly with that Administrator throughout the Probate process. The administrator is responsible for:
- Collecting all of the decedent’s property
- Paying all of the estate’s debts, claims and taxes
- Collecting all rights to income, dividends, etc.
- Settling all disputes
- Distributing or transferring the remaining property to the heirs
Access to the decedent’s accounts to determine the financial landscape
The Administrator may meet with the financial advisor, insurance agent, accountant, etc. to acquire estate information. Gaining access to all of the decedent’s records–bank statements, savings accounts and income tax returns–will help determine the financial landscape. The Administrator is in charge of valuing and and selling assets, as necessary, to settle the estate’s debts or expenses.
During Probate, the deceased’s estate becomes a separate tax entity, so the Administrator must obtain a federal identification number and open a bank account in the name of the estate, from which to pay creditors. It is also necessary to file the estate’s tax return and a final individual tax return.
Distribution of remaining assets
Once all taxes and debts have been satisfied, the Court will then distribute any remaining assets according to state law. In California, the first priority is given to the deceased’s spouse, followed by the deceased’s children.
Working with California Document Preparers
The safety and wellbeing of our own team and our clients are important to us. For many of our clients, we are working completely virtually using ZOOM and phones. We’ve instituted stringent sanitation procedures in our offices, so our clients can feel comfortable about meeting with us. Everyone is wearing masks and gloves; hand sanitizers are distributed throughout the space. We limit the number of people in the office so that we can maintain proper social distancing.
We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas
Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.