What is Probate & Why is Probate Such a "Bad" Word?

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Probate is the court supervised process designed to transfer property from one who died to a beneficiary. Although probate provides a very orderly and fair process for the transferring of wealth, it is a very time consuming and often expensive process which usually requires the services of a probate attorney.

Since probate utilizes the court system, it is necessary to accommodate the court's busy schedule when probating an estate. Thus a typical probate could take anywhere from 9 months to years to complete, and even longer without the services of a probate attorney to avoid the many pitfalls that could arise during the probate process. However, to most people, the biggest drawback to probate is its cost which is discussed below:

A probate attorney is entitled to a fee based on the value of the estate which amounts to $4,000 for the first $100,000 of the estate, 3% of the next $100,000 of the estate and 2% of the remainder of the estate up to $1,000,000 and so on.

The executor of the estate is entitled to the same commission as the probate attorney. In addition, the probate process requires the use of a probate referee to value non-cash property in the estate (such as stocks, bonds, and real estate), and the probate referee is entitled to 1/10th of 1 percent of the value of the non-cash assets of the estate as his fee. In addition, in California, probate requires the posting of a bond unless the will waives a bond (or all the beneficiaries waive bond) and the executor is a California resident and is represented by a probate attorney. A bond can be quite expensive. Lastly, since probate is a court process, a probate will always require court filing fees.


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18030 Brookhurst Street, PMB 393, Fountain Valley, CA 92708
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