People signing documentThis is the second post in my series on whether property should be included in a San Bernardino, California probate. My last article provided an overview of topics I will be discussing and stressed the need to speak with an attorney if you feel an estate is not being properly handled. It is important to speak with counsel sooner, rather than later, as you only have a limited amount of time in which you may dispute the handling of a will or intestate case (meaning that the deceased left no will). In this article, I will discuss the types of property disputes which often arise. If you need assistance, then call my office today to speak with a lawyer.

The most common disagreements arise in regards to whether assets should actually be included in an estate. Say, for example, an heir defrauded the deceased before they passed. That heir may have used such fraud to obtain ownership of cars, mutual funds, various financial instruments, collectibles, etc. In such situations, the estate can file a claim that the property in fact belonged to the deceased. If such a claim is successful, then the property will be included in the estate and distributed to the heirs. Another situation may involve property which is incorrectly included in the estate. Say, for example, the deceased willed something to his or her heirs even though they did not have a clean title to the item. In such a situation, the rightful owner can bring a challenge and attempt to have the property excluded from probate.

Another important issue that can arise in a case is how assets are valued. This is important for determining how items will be distributed to heirs and whether probate is even necessary; California only requires the full probate process in cases where generally the assets’ gross value exceed $150,000. Items such as cash and stocks are easily valued. Many items, such as art or collectables, can lead to disputes as to how much they are actually worth. In those instances, it may be necessary to retain an expert who will offer an opinion as to the item’s realistic value. These types of disputes will always be situation specific.

If you are involved in a California probate and believe there is a discrepancy, regarding property, then contact my office today to speak with a San Bernardino attorney. I have extensive experience in handling such matters and I am ready to assist you. We also service Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Ontario, Victorville, Rialto, Hesperia, Chino, Upland, Apple Valley, Redlands, Highland, Colton, Yucaipa, Montclair, elsewhere in the Inland Empire, as well as Los Angeles.