Someone you love has recently passed away, which, in California, puts his or her estate in probate. If your loved one has left a will, it has no legal effect in California until it is probated. This means that the State of California appoints a probate judge, who is now involved in transferring the decedent's property to his or her beneficiaries.
As your probate lawyer, I will help you with the processes of probate law. Our goal is to have as much of the decedent's estate as possible remain for his or her heirs.
The Probate Process
First, I will meet with you and listen carefully to the goals you define for your loved one's estate. We examine all options for distributing the property and possessions in the estate and determine if a will contest is involved. We also examine the will, trust, or other documents that the decedent has left regarding his or her estate. Then we provide you with choices that align with your stated goals.
Probate involves several processes, including:
- Collecting the assets of the estate
- Appraising the assets chosen to be sold
- Selling the assets chosen to be sold
- Paying the debts of the estate
- Paying the taxes owed by the estate
- Distributing the balance to the heirs or beneficiaries of the estate
We perform all of the above duties. In addition, we perform the accounting functions, open a bank account, and file all of the required paperwork within defined time constraints.
Keeping Probate Costs Low
Legal fees for probate are established by state law:
- Four percent of the first $100,000
- Three percent of the second $100,000
- Two percent of $1,000,000
- One percent of $25,000,000
- Negotiable thereafter
Fees are not due until the process has been completed. At our firm, we do not ask for additional fees unless the estate is especially complex.
As a teacher of probate at a local college, I feel I can explain the process well, so call me when you are faced with probate issues. We want to do what is right for you.