We Provide The Legal Guidance You Need After The Death of A Loved One
Probate, in California, is a legal proceeding needed to administer and transfer a persons estate after they pass away. The purpose of probate is to settle all of the decedent's legal and financial affairs if they failed to create a proper estate plan during their lifetime. If you have an estate plan that only consists of a Last Will and Testament, then your estate will almost certainly be forced into California's probate system. In California, probate is conducted in the Superior Court of the County where the decedent lived or where they owned real property.
If your estate must go through probate, your loved ones will have to wait until the completion of the probate before they can receive the assets you leave them. The probate proceeding is a long and expensive court process. Sometimes embarrassingly, your assets, debts and final wishes become a matter of public record during the probate proceeding. This means that anyone can do a little research and find the details of what you owned and what your final wishes were. Nasty legal battles waged during probate will also be public.
We take great pride in our decades of experience, helping guide our clients through all aspects of probate administration. Call (661) 306-2500 or contact us online today if you have questions or concerns and want help navigating the probate process.
FAQ: What to Expect During Probate
Question #1: Are assets in a trust subject to probate?
A: Assets held in trusts are generally not subject to probate. By placing most of your property in a California Living Trust, you can ease the burden of this complicated process for loved ones who are still grieving after your death.
Question #2: How long does the probate process take?
A: Probate generally takes one to three years to complete. The probate process can also be very expensive.
Question #3: Does my estate have to go through probate if I have Will?
A: If you only have a Will and no trust in your estate plan, then it virtually guarantees that a probate will need to be opened in order to transfer assets to your designated beneficiaries.
Question #4: What does the probate process involve?
A: The person named executor in your Last Will and Testament must petition the probate court to be formally appointed. If there is no Will, a close family member is usually appointed administrator of the estate by a probate judge.
Heirs of the decedent, certain relatives, and creditors will be notified about future probate hearings so they can monitor and contest any aspect of the probate proceeding they oppose.
In a simple probate, the executor of the estate will marshal the assets, find and pay creditors, file final tax returns, and manage assets of the estate that will eventually be distributed to beneficiaries.
Once the executor completes all of their duties, the court can be petitioned to distribute estate assets to heirs. After legal fees and administrator are paid, the probate is finalized.
Question #5: How much does probate cost in California?
A: Probate fees are statutorily set by law. If your estate must pass through probate, the legal fees (not including costs, such as bond, publication, filing fees, etc.) will be:
- 4% on the first $100,000 of the estate
- 3% on the next $100,000
- 2% on the next $800,000
- 1% on amounts over $1,000,000
These are gross amounts, not net amounts, which means a gross estate with property, including a family home, bank accounts, etc., equaling $1,000,000 will incur $23,000 in legal fees. If you have a complex estate, the court often awards even larger fees to both the executor and/or the probate attorney as an extraordinary fee.
Why Clients Across Oxnard & Ventura County Choose Our Firm
Our legal team has decades of experience and possesses extensive skill and insight gained from time spent in the courtroom in Ventura County. We proudly provide traditional in-person services, as well as virtual conferences via phone, Zoom, and Skype to discuss your matter. Maximizing convenience and delivering efficient services are two reasons many people hire our law firm. Our firm also offers services in English, Spanish and Russian to better facilitate communication with the diverse clients we represent.
Is There Another Way to Avoid Probate in California?
There could be! In 2021, if an estate that would normally pass through probate totals less than $166,250, or if a transfer of real property in California is worth less than $55,425 in 2021, a small estates affidavit might be used instead of going through a long, expensive probate. There are also special proceedings available to spouses which can help avoid a formal probate. Finally, where people tried to create a Revocable Living Trust but messed it up, we sometimes can salvage that trust in probate court with a less time consuming (and less expensive) court proceeding.
If you need an experienced attorney, please call us at (661) 306-2500 for a consultation. The help of an experienced Probate Lawyer can be invaluable, especially when dealing with complicated or litigious matters.
Here at Kaiden Elder Law Group, PC, we specialize in handling probate proceedings. For all your probate needs, please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation.