Probate Process


The Probate Attorney or nominated person will present the Will to the probate courts in the county where the deceased resided, or where the deceased owned real property if the deceased person passed away out of the area. If there is no Will, someone must ask the court to appoint him or her as administrator of the deceased estate. This can be one person or multiple people. Often, the spouse or an adult child of the deceased will request to be appointed. Once the executor or administrator is appointed by the courts that person becomes the legal representative of the estate.Will or by the court process. begins when the executor or administrator is nominated by the deceased in the probate processWhen an estate goes to Probate that is the process where the deceased’s debts and real property are settled. The legal title to the deceased’s real property held in the deceased’s name alone and not divided by law is transferred to heirs or beneficiaries. If the deceased had a Will and the Will is acknowledged as valid, and the deceased had real property subject to probate, the


First, you must file a petition and give notice to heirs and beneficiaries. to admit the Will and appoint an executor is the first move. Or, if there is no Will the probate courts will appoint an administrator to the estate. Normally, notice of the court hearing regarding the petition must be provided to all of the deceased’s heirs and beneficiaries. If an heir or beneficiary objects to the petition, the heir or beneficiary will have the opportunity to do so during the probate court hearing. You may request to call in to speak with the judge if you are unable to appear in person but a valid reason must be provided. The notice of the hearing is published in a local newspaper in most cases. The newspaper publication is used to notify others when failing to reach them by mail and to try and give notice to any unknown creditors of the deceased.probate courtsFiling of the petition with the

Second, the court will appoint someone. The representative must give written notice to all known creditors of the estate and complete an inventory of the estate property, which includes real estate and personal belongings. An inventory of the deceased probate property, including real property, money, stocks, bonds, business interests, and any anything else presumed to be an asset, is considered. A court-appointed appraiser will determine the value on real property assets. When deemed necessary, an appraiser is hired by the estate to appraise all the deceased’s non-cash assets.  The representative or the attorney you hire will give written notice to all creditors of the estate based upon state law; any creditor who wants to make a claim on an asset of the estate must make their claim within a limited period of time (check state laws).

Third, all of the estate and expenses plus any debts and income or real estate taxes must be paid by the estate. Any other final bills identified by the estate will need to be paid as well; it is normal for the representative to keep some funds in reserve to ensure all debts are paid in full. In most instances, the representative may be permitted to sell estate assets to satisfy the deceased’s debts.  The representative of the estate must determine which creditor's claims are legitimate and pay those bills.

Fourth, title to the property is transferred according to the Will or under the laws of intestate (if the deceased had no will). Following the above is a waiting period (check with the courts) to allow creditors to file claims against the estate, and all verified claims and bills are paid in full. Often, the representative petitions the court for the authority to transfer the remaining assets to heirs or beneficiaries as listed in the deceased’s last will. If there is no will, then the courts will follow the State’s intestate succession laws. If the Will calls for the creation of a trust to benefit a minor, spouse or incapacitated family member, funds are then transferred to a trustee, unless the heir or beneficiaries of the estate waive this requirement. Check state laws but the petition may include an accounting outline of exactly how the assets or funds were managed during the probate process. Finally, once the petition has been granted, the representative may have an escrow company create new deeds for real property, transfer stock and liquidate assets, and transfer property to the appropriate parties while keeping very clear records in case of any future legal disputes amongst heirs or beneficiaries.

Losing a loved one is difficult on many levels. The legal aspects of settling the loved one’s affairs can be an unexpected and emotional difficulty if not handled properly. The more organized the estate is, the more help that can be to the surviving family members: for example, a properly drafted Will by an individual should be reviewed by an attorney or free legal service and should be updated every few years to account for changes in life or changes to new or eliminated assets. For the family members working through Probate, knowing more about the process, consulting experienced professionals, being organized with paperwork, and—most importantly—working together as a family are all important strategies to successfully navigating through the process.

Do you want to preview the interior of a home? Or do you want disclosures or inspections on a property, give me a call at 510-684-1455. I am here to assist you when you need me.


Testimonials about Leah

Hiring Leah to be our realtor was the best decision we made when we sold our home in Oakland. We moved to Illinois for my work, and our relocation company required us to interview multiple realtors, all from the Oakland/Berkeley area. Leah was the first agent we interviewed, and while we completed our interviews with the other realtors, we knew right away that Leah was going to be our favorite. When Leah arrived at our house, she was full of enthusiasm and friendliness. She started off by making very positive comments about our location, the view, and her overall first impressions. Her opinions on how our location compared to different neighborhoods in the area meshed with our thinking exactly. Then she had us walk through the house, where she paid attention to every inch of every floor and walls and fixtures, asking lots of questions and taking notes and photos. After giving her the tour we sat down and Leah told us she thought our house could sell for just over 700K, and showed us the comps and discussed the trends that supported her position. She explained why certain lower comps were not applicable based on her research of those sales, and why buyers who had been in the hunt for a while (it's a seller's market in Oakland) would understand why our home had more value. She explained that she didn't think we needed to do any major repairs or upgrades, as they wouldn't increase the price of our home nearly as much as the investment we would have to put in. We left very impressed and excited (we had purchased the house a few years before for a much lower price and had expected it needed a lot of repairs). The other realtors we interviewed over the following week didn't show as much interest in our house, paid minimal attention to the details, and suggested that a lot of work was needed if we were going to get over 600k for the house. They used the comps that Leah had discounted, and scoffed at the idea that houses in the next neighborhood over would be comparable to ours. We agonized over the decision for a while. We liked Leah, we knew she would give 100% to sell our house, but what if it really wasn't worth as much as she thought? We reviewed the sales plans of each realtor, and in the end we came to the conclusion that we trusted Leah over the others, and even if she was wrong on the starting price, she would present out house in the best possible light because she understood it's value. But our fears were unfounded, Leah turned out to be completely right and worked harder than we had hoped to prove our trust was well-placed. Leah held 5 open houses and a realtor tour in 3 weeks before opening up for offers. She had a handyman make minor touches (fence repair, painting our mailbox) and paid for those repairs herself. She coordinated the cleaning, the carpet washing, the staging (she met with multiple stagers before choosing the one she felt fit our house right). While we focused on our new life in Chicago, she was back in Oakland meeting with 4 appraisers, 2 home inspectors, a termite inspector, a mold inspector, and coming to the house dozens of times to interview contractors for bids for termite work and mold remediation, and to inspect their work for thoroughness afterwards. She advised on us which contractors seemed the most professional, who was overcharging us, and made herself available whenever we scheduled a new one out for a competitive quote. When our buyer tried to get a discount after the first appraisal, she proved herself a shrewd negotiator and was able to work with the buyer's agent to avoid a significant price reduction. When our company-appointed relocation agent was slowing down the process, Leah set her straight so we could keep the deal moving. We sold our house for $705k. The other agents we had interviewed told us we'd need to do a lot of upgrades to even sell between 600 and 650, but Leah insisted our house was worth at least 700. We believed she was right. And she was right. I know the other agents would not have gotten us such a high price, and would not have showcased our best features like Leah did. Overall, I would definitely recommend Leah for anyone looking to sell their home. She puts your needs first, and will work tirelessly and enthusiastically to make sure you are happy. We used a relocation company who referred Leah (and the other realtors) to us but Leah made it clear that she worked for us, not for them. When the relocation company dragged out the process, Leah was positive, helpful, and remained enthusiastic, and we knew she had us covered. I really cannot express enough the gratitude my wife and I feel towards Leah, who took care of us so well and gave so much of her time and her own resources so that we would have the best experience and get highest sales price possible. Hire Leah. Justin R.
Thank you for lowering your fees to get our offer accepted. Thank you for paying for the home inspection and termite inspection to get it done quickly. Thank you for understanding that my deposit should not be put at risk if I don't feel comfortable. Every time I called with lender complaints you where there for me and got on the phone and straightened it out for me. You explained documents when lenders could not help me understand. You were the best buffer I have experienced. I trust you like family. I will use you again when it's time to buy or sell. Thank you so much. A.Wouldo, Buyer
Lady, you are amazing. Sold my house and pushed for more than what those agents wanted to give. Helped me clean and organize. Dropped stuff off for me and pushed those vendors to do what they said they would. It was fun and I love my new house you helped me by way out of your service area so I did not have to look for another agent. You knew what I wanted and we got it done. Your family now and forever. W. Terry Seller/Buyer
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