Sacramento Attorney Answers, “What Is Probate?”

As an attorney in Sacramento, I want to address a really common question that I get and that is: “When would someone have to go through probate?”

First I want to say why we have probate. We have probate to allow the legal transfer of assets from a deceased person to a living person, and not all assets are going to have to go through probate.

The things that go through probate are things that are in a person’s name that does not have a beneficiary designation with them.

So usually life insurance policies and retirement accounts do not go through probate but they still might depending on who the beneficiary is or if it’s missing a beneficiary.

The purpose of the probate court is to have a valid legal transfer of documents from one person to another the person who is deceased can’t do that anymore and so the court is going to approve of someone to essentially “sign on the dotted line.”

But then what that person also has to do is to make sure that the decedent’s debts had been paid, so part of the process is to identify what those debts are and then get the approval of the court to pay them.

So nothing gets done in the probate without the court’s approval, and that is why we have probate.

Have further questions about filing probate in Sacramento County? Call our office at (916) 635-6800 and ask if you qualify for a free Peace of Mind Planning Session ($750 value!) with the mention of this video (limited to first 10 responders per month).



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