The time after the loss of a loved one can be emotionally fraught. As difficult as it is to deal with a family member's death, many people must go through the grieving process while also handling the deceased's estate. If you are like most people in California, this may be the first and only time you deal with the probate process, which can be extremely difficult.
Probate is the legal process in which a court approves the transfer of a deceased person's property to beneficiaries and heirs. Estates whose owners took the time to carefully prepare their estate -- including wills and other important documents -- tend to pass through probate rather quickly and without a hitch. However, a significant number of people fail to adequately estate plan, which can cause serious problems for executors.