San Luis Obispo Probate Attorneys Answer Common Questions about Probate in California

-Probate is a legal process during which a court determines the heirs, value, debts, and distribution of a deceased person’s estate. In a probate matter, the court appoints and supervises an executor or administrator to marshal the assets, pay the debts and liabilities, and distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries of the decedent. Typically, a probate is necessary when the assets owned by a decedent outside of a trust are valued at $166,250 or more, so if you own real property in California, the San Luis Obispo probate attorneys from Toews Law Group, Inc. strongly recommend that you create, and properly fund, a living trust for the purpose of avoiding probate.

When is Probate necessary?

For example, let’s assume the decedent recently purchased a home for $600,000. The decedent paid $100,000 as a down payment and obtained a mortgage for the remaining $500,000. If the decedent dies shortly after purchasing the home, the decedent will have $100,000 in equity, far below the threshold for a probate proceeding. But, because the Decedent’s home is valued at the net fair market value of $600,000 the decedent’s estate will require probate.

If you own real property in your individual name, then your estate will most likely be subject to probate.

How long does probate take?

What does probate cost?

  • Four percent on the first one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
  • Three percent on the next one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
  • Two percent on the next eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000).
  • One percent on the next nine million dollars ($9,000,000).
  • One-half of 1% (.50) on the next fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000).
  • For all amounts above twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000), a reasonable amount will be determined by the court.

By way of example, let’s assume your parents bought the family home in the 1970s for $50,000. The house is currently worth $900,000 with a mortgage (refinanced) of 500,000. They also have a savings account with $100,000. . If your parents die without a trust, their estate will be subject to probate. The estate will be valued at $1,000,000, which will generate statutory fees totaling $46,000 ($23,000 to each the personal representative and the attorney).

Had your parents created a trust, and funded the trust with the family home, they could have avoided probate and the accompanying fees.

How does probate work?

Once an executor or administrator is appointed, the court oversees the personal representative as assets are collected, creditors are paid, and assets are distributed to heirs and beneficiaries. The court resolves any conflicts or contests to the actions by the personal representative or the distribution of the estate. The court also sets timelines for certain tasks to be completed and makes the final determination to distribute assets to heirs.

Unhappy heirs can also complicate the process making probate take longer to settle and resulting in the court deciding which heirs get which assets.

The San Luis Obispo probate attorneys at Toews Law Group are experienced in representing personal representatives through probate and addressing the myriad of issues that can arise during the probate process. If you need representation as a personal representative or have questions regarding the necessity of probate, call Toews Law Group today.

How to legally avoid probate

It is important to know the options and the San Luis Obispo probate attorneys at Toews Law Group, Inc. can advise you on the best strategy to protect your legacy.

This information has been prepared by Toews Law Group, Inc. for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. The transmission of this information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Toews Law Group, Inc.
1212 Marsh Street, Suite 3
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 781–3645

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