What Probate Services Does the Law Office of Mark Gullotta Provide?
Probate can be a challenging process for grieving loved ones. Not only is probate a lengthy process, but it also requires that a series of tasks be completed within a certain timeframe. Having a Pacifica probate attorney from the Law Office of Mark Gullotta can make a significant difference in how probate unfolds. The California probate process requires multiple court appointments, filling out detailed forms, and a comprehensive understanding of California legal probate regulations.
The average layperson named as executor will find the probate process a legal nightmare. If that person was close to the decedent, handling probate tasks can seem like an overwhelming proposition. Probate typically takes from six months to two years—when the estate is uncontested. Any mistakes or incorrectly filed paperwork will delay court proceedings—and the distribution of assets. An experienced Pacifica probate attorney can help the probate executor with the following tasks:
- Locating both probate and non-probate assets
- Obtaining appraisals for estate properties when necessary
- Preparing all documents required for probate
- Filing all documents required for probate
- Collecting life insurance payouts
- Managing payment of the final debts of the decedent
- Dealing with taxes—estate taxes, inheritance taxes, and final income taxes
- Managing retirement funds
- Settling disputes among heirs and beneficiaries
- Distributing the decedent’s assets to beneficiaries following payment of all debts
- Wrapping up the probate process and ensuring all paperwork is complete and the court has approved the probate
While an estate executor can handle probate without the assistance of a Pacifica probate attorney, probate can require the experience of a probate attorney who understands the law and rules surrounding probate. An inexperienced executor could potentially be held liable for any omissions, failure to submit proper documentation or missed deadlines during the probate. For these reasons and many more, having a Pacifica probate attorney from the Law Office of Mark Gullotta by your side can ensure the process goes smoothly.
About Pacifica, California
As a city in San Mateo County, stretching down the coast of the Pacific Ocean between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay, Pacifica (“peaceful” in Spanish) has a population of approximately 40,000. Pacifica is comprised of several small valleys and is known regionally as a surfing destination. Pacifica Skateboard Park opened in 2005—the city is also a popular mountain biking destination.
Striped bass and salmon are common catches for those fishing on the Pacifica Pier. The Shelldance Orchid Gardens is a favorite destination for residents and visitors alike. Actor Rob Schneider grew up in Pacifica, subsequently forming the Rob Schneider Music Foundation to support the school music program. Pacifica gained the attention of the world in 1971 when Father Bob Duryea, a popular St. Peter’s Catholic priest, was excommunicated after he married.
Residents of Pacifica can find themselves in need of a Pacifica probate attorney, just like those across the United States. Attorney Mark Gullotta can provide those services to those in Pacifica and the surrounding areas.
When does a will go to probate?
After losing a loved one in the state of California, you may wonder about the process of probate and how probate begins. If your loved one left a Will that named an executor, the holder of an original Will must lodge or file the Will with the court and provide a copy to the named executor (or a named beneficiary if the executor’s whereabouts are unknown) within 30 days of learning of the person’s death. If the Will is not filed within that time frame, the executor may be liable for any damages that result. In the state of California, a Will must almost always go through probate, with a few exceptions. Sometimes a Small Estate Affidavit can be used if the value of the estate is less than $166,250 (for deaths that occurred prior to April 1, 2022) or $184,500 (if the death occurred after April 1, 2022). Assets placed in a living trust, or titled through joint tenancy, are exempt from probate. The Will must be filed with the California court in the county where the decedent resided. If the court is used, the court will ensure the decedent’s wishes are properly followed. The time it takes to complete probate depends on the complexity of the estate, as well as whether there are a significant number of creditors’ claims or if the Will is contested. While the probate code requires that either a petition for final distribution or a status reportbe filed within one year, however that can be stretched to 18 months when federal tax returns are necessary. If the Will is contested or there is other pending litigation, probate can take much longer.
Is the probate process ever not necessary?
- A proceeding in Probate court may not be necessary in California under certain circumstances, including:
- The assets in question are non-probate assets such as: assets held in a trust, jointly owned property, certain types of jointly owned property, Payable-on-death or transfer-on-death accounts, life insurance policy proceeds, or certain retirement accounts.
- The estate is valued at $184,500 or less ($166,250 for deaths that occurred prior to April 1, 2022) and includes no real property, therefore, can be distributed to the new owners using an affidavit. All those who are beneficiaries of the assets (or is an heir at law if there is no Will) must sign the affidavit (or the signer must be a representative of the beneficiaries under Probate Code 13051) and the transfer of assets may not be initiated until 40 days have elapsed since the decedent’s death.
- The estate is valued at $184,500 or less ($166,250 for deaths that occurred prior to April 1, 2022)and includes both personal and real property. Your probate lawyer can file a Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property with the court, file an appraisal and inventor, then provide notice of hearing.
How Pacifica Probate Attorney Mark Gullotta Can Help with Probate
Finding the best Pacifica probate attorney for your specific situation can be challenging. Attorney Mark Gullotta can discuss your probate issue, asking you questions and ensuring he can fully meet your probate needs. Mark has more than 19 years of experience helping those in San Mateo County with all their probate and estate planning needs. When you need a knowledgeable, highly skilled probate attorney, contact the Law Office of Mark Gullotta.