Experienced Millbrae, California, Probate Lawyer

If a family member dies, with or without a will, contact experienced Bay Area estate administration lawyer Robert G. Gottschalk to help you through probate.

Probate is the court procedure that winds up a person’s finances and distributes his or her property after death. It’s complicated and sometimes contentious. A probate estate cannot close before the expiration of the four-month creditors’ notice period; probate usually takes six months to a year.

If a person put his property in a living trust before death, the estate won’t need to go through the probate process. Otherwise, any estate worth over $150,000 must pass through probate before property can be distributed to the heirs.

The probate process requires close attention to detail. As a dedicated probate attorney with 30 years of experience, I can walk your family through the procedures with a minimum of stress and delay. I personally handle each step of the process to make sure it’s done right.

Aside from lodging the will with the court and preparing documents, such as the petition for probate to administer the estate, I also:

• Attend court probate hearings, and prepare documents to authorize the personal representative to handle the estate.

• Ask the court to appoint a probate referee to value assets.

• File bonds, pay fees, provide formal notice of the proceedings to known creditors and interested parties and notice by publication to unknown creditors, and draft the order for probate.

• File federal and state income tax returns and notify agencies, such as Social Security and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

• Handle retirement plans, insurance policies, joint tenancy assets, and safe deposit boxes.

• Collect the estate’s assets, manage estate accounts, prepare inventory and appraisal for estate property, and determine the value of the assets on the date of death.

• Evaluate creditors’ claims, litigating where appropriate.

• Sell personal and real property as needed to pay debts or divide assets among heirs, following procedures and filing reports prescribed by law.

• Prepare accounting showing that the correct procedure was followed, seek court approval of steps taken, distribute assets to heirs, and document final discharge of the probate case.

If you have questions about a probate matter or need help with estate administration, call me today for a consultation. I offer free consultations and am available for evening and weekend meetings if necessary. Located in Millbrae, I serve clients who live in cities such as South San Francisco, Daly City, Hillsborough, San Mateo, Foster City, Burlingame, San Bruno, San Carlos, Belmont, and Redwood City.

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In most cases, estate planning services are available for a fixed fee.
You will know what the cost is before we begin.