What To Do If Someone Dies?

After the death of a loved one, amidst the grief, it is difficult to consider all of the legalities involved in administering a probate or trust.  At Jones Torru Law Offices, it is our goal to guide you, with care and understanding, through the intricacies of the California Probate system or Trust Administration process, keeping you informed of each step along the way.

When a loved one dies, you should:

Determine legal residence of the decedent:

  • The County of residence at the time of death determines jurisdiction for California residents.
  • A probate attorney can advise you if you cannot determine the county of legal residence.

Within weeks of death:

  • Locate the Trust, Will and related estate planning documents.
  • If the decedent had a Will or Trust, determine the name of the executor or successor trustee.
  • If the decedent died without a Will or Trust, family members must decide who should act as the administrator of the estate.
  • Notify Social Security of death
  • Notify Medi-Cal of death
  • Cancel subscriptions and memberships
  • Protect decedent's estate assets from theft or damage

Identify Assets and Debts:

  • For each asset, list the Fair Market Value at date of death; the ownership (Trust property, separate property, community property, joint tenancy property) and portion owned by the decedent.
  • List all of decedent's liabilities, and which debts needs to be kept current (mortgages, car loans, etc.)

Is probate required?

There are many situations where a formal probate is not required.  At your first consultation, we will advise you, based on the information provided regarding the decedent's assets, whether there are alternatives to formal probate in your specific case.

Trust Administration:

If the decedent had a living trust, probate is not required, but you must follow the trust instructions and timelines for proper administration and distribution of the decedent's assets, to avoid personal liability.  Jones Torru Law Offices offers expert trust administration services in Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco and Solano counties.

If you find yourself in need of a probate or trust administration, please be advised as follows:

  • The probate estate will be settled much more quickly if you retain professional assistance from an attorney and/or private fiduciary.  But, even with a good attorney a formal probate takes a minimum of 8 months and most trust administrations take at least four months.
  • With or without an attorney, probate or trust administration requires you to do a lot of work.
  • Good attorneys can help you minimize the risks of liability and family strife, which is often directly related to the size and value of the estate and the number of heirs.

Contact Jones Torru Law Offices today to arrange a consultation appointment to determine your best plan for successfully navigating a California Probate or Trust Administration.  We Can Get You Through This!

Jones Torru Law

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I personally assist families in the same manner I would assist my own family; giving the same time, attention and care that brings a sense of assurance to the unknown.

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Contact Attorney Joscelyn Jones Torru today to set up your office consultation, Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday by appointment only. Weekend, hospital and home consultations are available by appointment only.