If there is a dispute involving an incompetent individual, or a decedent's estate or trust, that dispute is raised in a probate court proceeding.
Absent litigation, the involvement of the probate court is not necessary if individuals have taken steps for the management of their affairs upon their incapacity, death, or both. For example, when an agent is appointed in a valid "Power of Attorney," or if one's estate has been placed in a trust, then a probate proceeding may not be necessary.
Contrary to popular misconception, having a will does not avoid probate. All wills must be accepted by, and administered under the oversight of, a probate court.
Where an individual has not formally named someone to manage their affairs upon their incapacity or death, a probate court proceeding will be needed to appoint someone -- a fiduciary -- to do so. The appointment of a fiduciary authorizes the fiduciary to "stand in the shoes" and exercise those rights of the incompetent or deceased individual.
If you have a question about your legal rights, or wish to speak to an attorney about your situation, please call us today at 510-663-9240, or contact us online to discuss your legal rights.