What Are the Probate Costs in California and How Much Does an Estate Have to Be Worth to Go Through Probate?

Navigating the probate process in California can be a complex and costly endeavor. For more than 25 years, the best source of guidance for conducting probate proceedings without an attorney has been the book How to Legate an Estate in California by Julia Nissley and Lisa Fialco (Nolo). Many executors find that with the right information, they can handle a California estate themselves, provided there are no unusual complications. If an estate is placed in a living trust, it will not be necessary to go through probate as the trust will automatically transfer the title to the beneficiary.

A living trust exists and all assets outside of it are valued below the small equity threshold. The State of California will only end up in possession of your estate if you have no family left to inherit it. A probate attorney can help personal representatives set their fees and recover any losses or expenses incurred through probate administration. If all assets in an estate are linked to beneficiaries or are payable at death or transferable at death, there is no need for legalization.

The state's probate code requires that final distribution orders be filed within one year or 18 months if federal tax returns are needed. If you leave a surviving child or the grandchild of a deceased child alone, your share of your estate will be reduced by only half. If there is no will, or the person appointed to act as executor is not available, a family member usually asks the court to be appointed trustee of the estate. Not all states need to go through probate, but most will be prosecuted through the courts.

A spouse can file a spousal petition with the court when an asset (regardless of type) passes under the will or by intestate succession to the surviving spouse. In some cases, real estate may well exceed the limit amount, but the small equity law can still be used. California is one of the few states that allow lawyers to bill according to a percentage of the total value of the estate. This means that the amount an estate has to be worth for it to go through probate in California varies depending on how much it is worth and how much it costs to administer it. Generally speaking, if an estate is worth more than $150,000, it must go through probate.

Kathleen Huelsman
Kathleen Huelsman

Infuriatingly humble social media maven. Amateur internet expert. Award-winning music junkie. Extreme problem solver. Extreme twitter buff.

Leave Message

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *