California's Testate Or Intestate Succession

March 29, 2011 by Mitchell A. Port

Probate is the California court’s supervision over the process by which legal title of property is transferred from the deceased person’s estate to his or her beneficiaries and heirs.

When someone dies having prepared a will, which is called testate, the will usually nominates an executor and through the probate process the court will appoint that person to act as executor of the estate unless there are objections.

As for the will, the California probate court determines if the will is valid, hears any objections to the will, orders that creditors be notified and paid and supervises the process to assure that property is distributed according to the terms and conditions of the will.

When someone dies without a will, which is called intestate, the probate court appoints a person called an administrator who essentially acts like an executor: the probate administrator receives all claims against the estate, pays creditors and then distributes all remaining property according to California law.

An important difference between dying intestate and dying testate is that an intestate estate is distributed to heirs according to the distribution plan established by California law. A testate estate is distributed according to the instructions provided by the decedent in the will.

Speak with a qualified probate lawyer about California probate whether or not a will exists. Call Mitchell A. Port at (310) 559-5259.