California Probate Process – Everything You Need to Know

What is the Probate Process in California? This article will explain the legal process that is supervised by the court to carry out a decedent’s final wishes. You can also hire an Estate Planning Attorney in Sacramento to help you through the probate process.


The state’s Probate Code sets the fees for the California probate process. The fees are based on the estate’s gross value, excluding liens, mortgages, and other encumbrances. Generally, the fee is 4% of the estate’s value.

Costs can vary widely, depending on the size of the estate and the type of assets. The court appoints a referee to appraise each estate and determine its fair market value. The appraiser will also factor in any outstanding debts and mortgages. The fees for typical probate are roughly $900 in California.

Attorney fees are included in the probate process. However, in some cases, attorneys waive their fees. Attorney fees are set by law, and top law firms charge the same. A probate fee calculator can help estimate the costs of probate in California. However, it does not account for “extraordinary fees” or other fees that must be paid to third parties.


The probate process in California starts when a person files a petition with the Superior Court. This petition asks the court to appoint an administrator or executor of the estate. While a will may name an executor or administrator, the court will appoint one if there is no one to do so. The process usually takes a year or more, and executor fees are paid out of the estate’s value.

The Probate Code requires that petitions for probate be published. In California, this notice must appear in a newspaper of general circulation in the city where the decedent lived at the time of their death. In addition, the notice must appear at least 15 days before the date of the hearings. However, in some counties, three publications in a newspaper published once a week suffice.

Simple probates can be completed in less than nine months, but complicated cases can take two years or more. Therefore, it’s important to understand the length of the process. A simple probate case will likely be completed faster because there are no complicated creditor claims, arguments over assets, or arguments against the will.

Probate proceedings begin with filing a petition in the state’s superior court where the deceased person lived. The petition must include the deceased person’s will and death certificate. The court will then schedule a hearing. At the hearing, the administrator must inventory and appraise the estate’s assets. Estate assets include bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, and real estate. In addition, the deceased person’s personal belongings, such as expensive art, will also be subject to probate.

Carrying Out a Decedent’s Last Wishes

Wills are legal documents used to communicate a decedent’s last wishes, addressing who will receive their property and who will look after their dependents. These documents also outline the disposition of a decedent’s accounts and financial interests. The process for executing a will differs from state to state. In California, for example, a person may name a California bank or trust company to be their executor. Although these people may be akin to family members, they are not a substitute for a testament.

Court-Supervised Process

The probate process is a court-supervised legal process that distributes the assets of a deceased person. This procedure is generally lengthy and involves paying debts and distributing assets to the beneficiaries of a deceased person’s will. The process also involves a lot of expenses. The purpose of probate is to transfer assets according to the instructions in the will.

During the probate process, the executor must notify known beneficiaries and creditors. The executor must also allow each of these parties to be heard by the court. The court-supervised process is important because it ensures that the deceased person’s assets are not misappropriated. It also ensures that the executor completes an accurate accounting of the estate’s assets, pays all debts, and determines the validity of any creditor claims.

A petition for probate must be filed with the probate court in the county where the deceased person lived. It will trigger a hearing, which usually lasts about 30-40 days. In addition, a copy of the deceased person’s will and death certificate must be submitted with the petition.

Avoiding Probate

In California, avoiding probate is possible by creating a living trust. This trust allows you to transfer your property without going through probate court. It works like a will, except that you can name a successor trustee. Once the original trustee dies, the successor can transfer the property to your beneficiaries without going through the probate court.

Probate court is very expensive, especially when an estate is large. Unfortunately, it can also result in financial scams and harassment. To avoid probate in California, you should work with an experienced elder law or estate planning attorney. Your California estate attorney will be able to help you avoid this costly process and protect your loved ones’ assets.

Probation can take months or years. If you do not plan properly, it can take as long as two years or more. In addition, it is time-consuming and expensive. Probate is a public process. You won’t be able to see your assets during this time, and you’ll be unable to control the inheritance of your loved ones.


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