What Is Probate Law?

Probate is the process that takes place after a person is deceased and requires the services of a competent probate lawyer in Santa Rosa such as those at the Law Offices of Johnston & Associates.

What does it entail?

  • Proving that the will left by the deceased person is valid
  • Identifying and listing the deceased’s property
  • Obtaining a property appraisal
  • Paying debts and taxes
  • Distributing the property as dictated by the will

How the probate process works

After a person dies, the individual named as executor in the will files papers in the local probate court. If a person dies without leaving a will, a judge chooses an executor. Once these steps are completed, creditors and relatives are officially notified of the death. The executor must look for the assets, then secure and manage them during the probate process.

Depending on the contents of the will and amount of debt, the executor might decide to sell the property and other securities. This means that if the deceased has many outstanding debts, his or her property may be sold to pay them off.

Who handles probate?

In most cases, an executor handles the probate process. If one is not named, probate court appoints an administrator to handle probate. Often, a close relative or the individual who inherits most of the assets gets the job.

If formal probate is unnecessary, the court will not appoint an estate administrator. As an alternative, a close friend or relative becomes an informal estate representative. Close family and friends of the deceased usually choose this person. In some cases, several people may be appointed to share the responsibilities of filing tax returns, distributing property, and paying debts.

Probate is necessary when dealing with complicated property problems such as debts that cannot be repaid with the property left behind. If you have just a little property, your property might qualify for the simplified probate procedure. This can save your family many headaches once you are gone.

Are you looking for a probate lawyer in Santa Rosa? Visit You can also call (707) 200-1366 to get help immediately. Make the probate process easy as you go through a hard time.