Law Offices of Bruce Ketron
Offices In Santa Rosa Since 1974. In Napa Since 1988.
Practice limited to Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law
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When Facing An Impending Death In The Family

“We believe our clients deserve compassion and empathy because we’ve been there, too. If someone you love is nearing death and you don’t know what to do, please know you can call us.” Attorney Bruce Ketron, Esq.

Even when estate planning goes well over the course of a person’s life, there will still be final affairs to be handled upon death. The Law Offices of Bruce Ketron provides experienced legal counsel and representation for families needing assistance with the probate process, as well as tying up details following the death of an estate holder or trustor.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the court procedure to control assets of a person after death, pay bills and taxes, and distribute the rest to heirs after payment of costs.

If someone dies without will or a trust, he or she is said to have died “intestate.” When this happens, a probate proceeding is required to handle their assets and other affairs. Having a trust set up while living can avoid this.

The executor is the person of your choice to handle your affairs that have to go to court. (Failure to name someone means the court appoints an administrator who could be someone you do not want.) The court gets involved in all your assets that are not in your trust or titled for proper handling.

When someone dies, there are many legal matters that need to be handled. Simply put, relatives must be notified, the decedent’s assets must be collected, and debts and taxes must be paid, all long before heirs and beneficiaries receive the estate assets.

The court oversees this process. It can be expensive, can take a very long time and is a “public” process. The word “probate” comes from the Latin word meaning “prove.” This refers to the need to prove that a will is valid and who is entitled to receive a deceased person’s assets. This is handled through a probate court proceeding.

Probate court files are available to public viewing. If the estate is probated after a person dies then anyone can go to the courthouse and see what assets the decedent owned, what debts he or she had and how much his or her heirs received. Most people prefer to keep such matters private.

Administering The Final Affairs Of The Estate

It is very personal and never easy when you learn that someone you love may not live much longer. Feelings are so very real as emotions run high, but we have learned that there are steps to take AND steps NOT to take. While there can be much worry about how to handle matters in the end stages of someone’s life and immediately after someone has passed away, the lawyer has a duty to let you know what to do and the best way to do what must be done.

The Law Offices of Bruce Ketron can share with you what worked well for others. But there are pitfalls and things to know as we all have heard about when things did not go well.

Comfort and peace of mind of having your affairs in order: In the best of all possible worlds, everyone would have their affairs in order before it was too late. Sadly, this is far from reality. While taking care of one’s affairs while in the end stages of life is not optimal, it is almost always possible to make the transition easier and less difficult to do the right thing. What is right depends upon who and what is involved.

Listening support and sharing: We all know how much it can help to have someone to share and support us at crucial times. The travel through the final stages of life with a loved one is too important not to have the help necessary.

Property and personal protection: During times of stress, your property and personal matters can be vulnerable. Family and personal considerations are paramount so your legal structure must assure protection while allowing proper respect to the people involved. Your lawyer has a duty to know what needs to be done and to keep everyone out of trouble.

Learn More About Why A Trust May Be Right For Your Family

Call us at 707-226-1700, or contact our offices by email to arrange a time to meet with Mr. Ketron to discuss the specific needs for your family.