DST Probate 2013
Source: Flickr

Why Probate?
Nobody willingly picks probate. People are too hectic or preoccupied with health or other issues to plan. They die without a living trust and their beneficiaries– normally their children– find that they can’t sell Mom or Father’s home without a court order or can’t transfer Mom or Daddy’s checking account without court approval. Even with a will, they may be required to submit a probate case.
Alternatives to Probate
Since probate is expensive and time consuming, an accountable attorney first attempts to identify if there is an alternative to probate. In California, the most common options to probate are a Spousal Residential or commercial property Petition (if there is a surviving partner) or a small estate transfer (if the worth of the estate is less than $100,000). If these and other alternatives to probate are unavailable, then the only recourse for the decedent’s beneficiaries is to submit a probate proceeding.
Expense of Probate
Attorney’s costs and costs are set by law in California and are based upon the value of the estate.
Here is the statutory fee schedule in California:
4% of the first $100,000
3% of the next $100,000.