Probate is the court supervised process for (1) gathering, inventorying and appraising the decedent’s assets, (2) determining and paying the debts of the decedent (3) paying the decedent’s taxes and (4) distributing the assets of the estate to the identified heirs. Avoiding probate is usually desirable because probate can be confusing, expensive, time consuming and can take a number of years to complete, delaying the distribution of property to the heirs. In Southern California, it is estimated that Probates take 1 year to 18 months to complete. And, it could take even longer due to state mandated furloughs, which periodically close the courts during the normal scheduled work week.
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