Why is it a bad idea to go through probate alone?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2021 | Estate Planning

Probate refers to the legal transfer of assets and debts following a person’s death. The court supervises the process to gather information about holdings, pay remaining liabilities and distribute the assets to heirs.

There are various components of probate proceedings. The process is complex and requires many formal steps to address the interests of the beneficiaries, the creditors, the state of California and other affected parties. Because this complicated legal matter happens at an emotional time, it is easy to make mistakes in the process if you do not have experience in this area.

You may miss essential deadlines

The California courts have particular requirements and rules for the probate process. You must file specific documents in the correct order at the right time. The court is not responsible for making you aware of the deadlines and can hold you personally and financially accountable for any mistakes.

You could mismanage the assets and debts

Lacking knowledge does not exempt you from the consequences of mishandling the assets and liabilities of the estate. Accounting errors could lead to expensive debts that become your responsibility. Asset distribution and creditor payment schedules have specific legal guidelines that you must follow. Improper management can have costly repercussions.

You may fail to file the correct taxes

As an executor, you must file the estate’s taxes accurately before the court can analyze the assets. It is crucial to ensure that the tax filings are comprehensive and correct. Errors can cost the beneficiaries money, and you will be personally liable for any financial discrepancies.

The complexities of probate laws and California tax codes are difficult to understand. You will need careful consideration to navigate the probate process and avoid mistakes.