Probate Administration Attorneys in Valencia and Oxnard
What Is Probate?
Simply put, probate is a legal proceeding needed to wind up a person’s
legal and financial affairs after death when they did not engage in proper
estate planning. In California, probate is conducted in the Superior Court
of the County where the decedent lived or where the decedent owned property.
Probate usually takes anywhere from one to three years to complete and
generally is very expensive. Some people erroneously believe that if they
have a Last Will and Testament, they can avoid probate. The opposite is
generally true though. Having only a Will virtually guarantees that a
probate will need to be opened to transfer assets to beneficiaries. In
this manner, whether you have a California Will or not, your estate must
pass through a probate court proceeding.
What Does A California Probate Involve?
Usually, the person who is the nominated executor in the Last Will and
Testament petitions a probate court to be formally appointed. If there
is no Will, intestate succession rules apply, and most of the time, a
close family member is appointed administrator of the estate by a probate judge.
As the probate gets going, heirs and certain relatives, as well as creditors,
are given notice about future probate proceedings. Anyone can monitor
these proceedings and even contest any aspect of a probate proceeding
if they oppose it. In the easiest probates, the executor marshals the
estate assets, locates and pays off creditors, files final tax returns,
and manages assets of the estate until they are ready to be distributed.
After all the duties of the executor have been completed, the estate's
assets are distributed to heirs, attorneys fees are paid, and the probate
For help with a California Probate Proceeding, call
(661) 306-2500 or
contact us online today.
How Much Does A California Probate Cost?
Besides filing fees, bond fees, appraisal fees, executor fees, etc., people
usually want to know how much is paid to a probate attorney for their
legal fees. You should know that probate fees are statutorily set by law
and if an estate passes through the probate process, legal fees are 4%
on the first $100,000 of the estate; 3% on the next $100,000; 2% on the
next $800,000; and 1% on amounts over $1,000,000. These are gross amounts,
not net amounts (for example, a mortgage is irrelevant in figuring out
probate fees). That means a gross estate with property, including a family
home, bank accounts, etc., equaling $1,000,000 will incur $23,000 in legal
fees. Sometimes, in more complicated probates, the court will award even
larger fees to both the executor and/or the probate attorney as extraordinary fees.
Please note however, that the above is an extremely simplified explanation
of the probate process and fees/costs, but it does highlight two of the
main reasons people try to avoid probate: It takes a long time and is
relatively expensive, especially in comparison to creating a solid estate
plan with a
California living trust, which will require a less onerous
California trust administration.