Probate is an expensive, public, one to two year court process by which the State of California determines what happens with your children and estate if you have not created and funded a Living Trust. A surviving spouse or heir will generally retain an attorney to assist with handling the Probate procedure.
The process includes the following:
- A mandatory California statutory fee of 8—10% of the gross value of the entire estate (if you own a $400,000 home, the fee on that item alone would be $32,00 to $40,000, no matter how much is owed),
- Proving the deceased person’s will is valid, if one exists,
- Identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property,
- Having property(ies) appraised,
- Paying debts and taxes, and
- Distributing the remaining property as the will or state law directs, if the beneficiaries can be located.