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What is Probate and Why Palm Springs Families Should Avoid It

Thumbnail image for Courthouse.JPGProbate is the legal process of transferring property after a loved one has passed away. It requires a petition to the Probate Court as well as various other forms and court hearings. Most Coachella Valley residents would rather avoid probate altogether because there are some serious drawbacks of having your estate administered through the court. Most notably, the reasons to avoid probate are:

Costs
The attorney fees for administering a probate case are outlined by statute and based on the gross value of an estate. The following are the statutory fees:
4% first $100,000 3% next $100,000 2% next $800,000 1% next $9,000,000 ½ % next $15,000,000 Therefore, an estate with a gross value of $500,000 will pay attorney’s fees in the amount of $13,000.

Privacy
Since a probate is a court process, it is entirely public. Anyone who has the time or desire can walk up to a court clerk and request to see your documents. This includes your last will and testament. Additionally, a notice about the probate case must be published in a local newspaper. Most individuals would rather have their estate administered privately and without court supervision.

Time Consuming
The statutory minimum length of a probate in California is four months long. However, due to court calendars and issues with court reporting requirements, most probate cases last between nine to twelve months. This means that your estate cannot be distributed quickly and any bequests outlined in your will cannot be carried out timely.

There are numerous ways to plan your estate that will avoid probate. One of the most efficient is the use of a living trust. If you are interesting in discussing the probate process further and wish to speak with a knowledgeable attorney, contact Julia Burt Law. Our attorneys will be happy to guide and advise you.