If your estate is valued at more than $150,000 at the time of your death your family members will likely have to go through the probate process.
It is important to designate the appropriate beneficiaries when allowed so that those assets may not be included in the probate process. For example, if your life insurance and IRAs allow for the designation of a beneficiary they may avoid probate. Also, if a home is owned in joint tenancy it may avoid the probate process. If there is a surviving spouse there is a process called a spousal property petition that replaces the probate process. But at the death of the second spouse, if the assets were to go to the children and there is not a trust in place, they will have to go through the probate process.
The average probate with no unusual problems takes approximately one year. It is necessary to wait a four-month creditor’s claims period and wait until the court can schedule a hearing. However, if problems arise with creditors, taxes or someone contests a will, there can be significant delays and the probate process can take longer.
It is more expensive to go through the probate process in California than to set up a trust. That is why you should contact The Law Offices of Deborah Azar, P.C. to assess your options for estate planning before it is too late and your family is stuck in the lengthy and costly probate process.
There is a California statute that lists the fees that attorneys and executors can receive for their work depending on the size of the estate. It is important to note that if both the attorney and the executor receive a fee, the fee will be double the number listed below. There are also various court fees and other expenses involved in the probate process. Debts are not included in determining attorney’s and executor’s fees. For example, if a house is appraised at $1,000,000 and the house has a mortgage of $600,000, the house is still considered at a value of $1,000,000 when calculating attorney’s and executor’s fees.
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If the particular probate case is complicated by will contests or tax issues, the attorney and executor can ask the judge to approve even higher fees.
The probate process in California is more expensive and takes longer than the creation and administration of a trust. Contact The Law Offices of Deborah Azar, P.C. to assess your options for estate planning before it is too late and your family is stuck in the lengthy and costly probate process.