Administration of Estates
An estate is all property owned by the person who has died (the “decedent”). A decedent’s property includes life insurance proceeds on life insurance policies owned by the decedent.
Administration of an estate is paying the debts of decedent, paying income taxes owed by the estate and decedent, paying estate taxes owed by the estate and transfer of legal title of property from the estate of the decedent to his or her beneficiaries or heirs. A beneficiary is a person who inherits when there is a Will or Trust. An heir is a person who inherits when there is no Will or Trust.
The person who administers the estate is identified in the Will as the executor, in the Trust as the Successor Trustee or in the event no Will or Trust exists in the California Probate Code. The California Probate Code prioritizes who serve as administrator, first is spouse, if not the spouse, then the children, and so on.
Transfer of real estate is governed by the laws of the state in which the real estate is located. How to transfer legal title of assets is dependent upon how legal title is held and the size of the estate. Transfer of legal title is done by Trust, probate, small estate declaration, contracts with designated beneficiary, joint tenancy or pay on death accounts.