When a person who dies in California owning owned assets in their sole name at the time of the person’s death, the decedent’s heirs usually have to go through the California courts in a “probate proceeding,” to claim their loved one’s worldly goods. Sometimes it is necessary for the family to ask the court to release a portion of the funds for “family allowances’ for living expenses, emergency expenses or other family expenses while the estate is in the courts hands.
The person making the request for family allowances must show the court that the family needs financial support. The allowance may be a one-time request or a monthly request until the estate is wound up and closed depending on the financial needs of the family. A typicalCaliforniaprobate administration can take up to nine months or longer depending on the size of the estate, type of assets and whether assets need to be sold.
Family Allowance Expenses
Family allowance expenses can be used for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Child care
- Special needs expenses for a disabled child
- To support a parent of the decedent
- Other emergency family expenses
When a family loses a head of the household and primary wage earner, it may be difficult for them to survive without receiving the family allowance expenses until the estate is wound up and closed or until they receive life insurance proceeds or other assets that are excluded from a probate proceeding. The court recognizes the family’s needs and will usually approve the request, unless there is a valid objection from some other beneficiary or interested party to the estate.
Since most family members are not familiar with how theCaliforniaprobate court system works, they will typically hire aCaliforniaprobate and estate attorney to assist them with the probate filing, family allowance requests and other probate and estate matters. The attorney will be able guide them through the California probate process and help them with all kinds of matters that may arise such as finding assets, locating missing heirs, selling property or a business, managing financial accounts or the family business and other legal and estate tax matters.
If you have any questions about probate in California, please contact our office at 858-792-5988 for a consultation.