Understanding Probate And How It Impacts You

How to go about leaving or claiming an inheritance usually comes with many questions. You may be wondering about how a living trust should relate to a will or how to go about the process of probate for a will that's already in place.

At Conover & Grebe, LLP, our lawyer have decades of experience helping people address these questions. We can guide you to a workable solution tailored to your specific circumstances.

Call 310-776-9028 to get started. With offices in Torrance and Anaheim, our attorneys serve clients throughout Southern California.

What is probate?

Probate refers to a court-supervised process for the administration of a will and transfer of the property of someone who has died.

Is probate always required?

Probate is necessary in California if the deceased person's estate exceeds $150,000. A last will and testament do not prevent probate, but it does allow the decedent to choose who will be in charge of handling his or her final affairs and how their assets will be distributed. Every situation is different, and the necessity for probate will depend greatly on the titling of assets and other factors. We can help you determine if probate will be necessary or if another type of petition or procedure would be more appropriate, for example: 1) A spousal property petition; 2) Small estate affidavit procedure (pursuant to Probate Code Section 13100); or 3) A Heggstad petition. If the will is disputed, then we can assist in the steps that must be taken to settle contested matters.

Is the probate process cumbersome?

Probate can take a year or sometimes even longer, depending on the size of the estate. There are also numerous costs and fees associated with it.

Trust administration generally does not take as long as probate. But trust administration carries with it more risk of wrongdoing by fiduciaries than probate. This is because there is less court involvement with trusts than probate.

What type of estate planning options avoid probate?

There are many ways that a person can plan to avoid probate. These options predominately feature the use of trusts and other legal options that name a beneficiary.