Is It a Good Idea to Hire a California Probate Attorney? Written By Sandra McCarthy Founder, A People’s Choice Fact Checked Not every asset that belongs to a deceased person becomes part of his or her probate estate. Not all estates must go through the probate process. Only some of the estates that go through probate involve complex issues that require the personal representative to hire a probate lawyer. In fact, hiring a California probate attorney is usually a waste of money in uncomplicated probate cases that have a beneficiary designation. For most people, it makes better financial sense to hire a non-attorney professional to complete your probate forms correctly before starting the legal process of dividing the assets. In California, certified legal document assistants have the authority to prepare and file probate documents without the supervision of a probate lawyer, but paralegals do not go through the ins and outs of probate. Here’s why a California probate attorney may not be necessary for you. Get help filing a California Probate! START MY PROBATE…or continue reading the article below to learn more about When it makes sense to hire a probate attorney and when it doesn’t. What our Clients Say... “A People’s Choice walked me through the entire probate process. This company is very professional and helpful and made a scary probate pretty much stress free. I would send an email with a question I had thought of over the weekend with the expectation I would get an answer on Monday but lo and behold, I often got an answer within minutes! Thank you to the staff for your guidance and patience to talk me through such a difficult time. You made the process very smooth! Probably saved us about $10,000! We are very pleased and will be referring our friends/family to A People’s Choice!” L. Garrett. “We had a complicated situation trying to change the beneficiaries to an old family property. There were 7 owners, most of whom were born in the 1800s. A People’s Choice persevered along with us and got it done. Lawyers we had contacted wanted $1000’s more than APC charged us and were unsure as to how to even proceed. We are extremely happy with what they achieved for us.” Lori A. “I cannot say enough about the time and money this company saved me. With their help I finished Probate in Tulare Co on my brother estate in little over 12 months. I am a letter carrier with no legal training, yet , I completed the entire process mainly because A People’s Choice walked me thru each step. They filed most papers electronically which resulted in me needing only three court appearances (and saved me from many trips to Visalia.) Keep in mind, all probates are different but if you have limited resources I recommend this company. The Probate Judge complimented me on the good work I received from A People’s Choice, saying this was not always to case with other legal help offices.”Jack M.“A People’s Choice is an incredible organization and extremely well-run business. My probate was taking place in California, but I live in Washington state. Probate is extremely expensive, but A People’s Choice is able to lower this expense by a huge amount and provide outstanding service. Probate is very stressful – it has a legal language all its own. A People’s Choice provides all the information you need to understand Probate and lower your stress. They are truly worth much more than their reasonable fees. I am a legal “dummy”. I was treated with respect and given answers to questions about the process. Their staff is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. They get back to you quickly and are very efficient. I would recommend A People’s Choice to anyone that is dealing with Probate. I am so thankful that I found this excellent organization!!”Kathy H. “I must say that A People’s Choice is a very responsible and effective company. The staff there is very nice and replied to all my questions by email quickly. With their help, I accomplished the probate in 8 months successfully and saved at least $10,000.00 in attorney fees, so I strongly recommend everybody to contract with A People’s Choice and let them help you with your legal documents. You will be very satisfied with their work as I did!!!!” C. Chiu “When my mother-in-law passed away last year, we didn’t know what to do. We contacted A People’s Choice and from day one they were very helpful. They held our hand every step of the way, and if I had a question any time of the day or night someone got back to me within a few hours. I highly recommend A People’s Choice if you don’t know what to do and don’t want to pay the high price of a lawyer, especially if you don’t have much money.” Mikki C“My father-in-law passed away without a will so his estate went into probate and we were intimidated by the paperwork and court process ahead of us. A lawyer was recommended to us, but after sending him everything he asked for he did nothing with it for several weeks and was slow to get back to us. His fees were set to be thousands upon thousands and we were frustrated that progress wasn’t happening. We stumbled upon A People’s Choice and we took a leap, switched, and we’re so glad we did. They were quick to respond and moved as quickly as we did. They saved us SO MUCH money and answered all our questions. We worked together to get everything done smoothly, and we felt like APC treated us with respect and patience. We are so grateful we found them and got everything done with confidence. Thank you APC!”Suzie H. “I would have never thought I could complete a full probate online without an attorney. A Peoples Choice guided me through the process every step of the way. They are a very professional and knowledgeable company far exceeding my expectations. My advice to anyone seeking this kind of service is as long as you are committed to doing your part, with A Peoples Choice guidance you will complete the task. A Peoples Choice Is a 5-star company that I was lucky enough to stumble upon in my searching process.” Rhonda G.“A People’s Choice did a great job on the probate I had to go through for my mom. I really didn’t have to think about most of it. I just signed or filled out the papers they sent through the Portal. I would definitely use A People’s Choice again if the need arises! All their people were professional and friendly. Overall it was a great experience for me at a very difficult time!”L. Wade. “Thanks to A People’s Choice, I was able to get through a probate matter very smoothly. I had not one issue with the Courts. They guided me through the whole probate until the very end. I live up north, but that didn’t matter, A People’s Choice did an excellent job keeping me informed with everything that I needed to do. I saved THOUSANDS of dollars by going with A People’s Choice. You can’t go wrong, no matter what your needs are. I saved a lot of money by not having to pay out a percentage to an attorney. Many thanks to the staff at A People’s Choice for the great help they give to everyone in their times of need like I was! Thank You.” R. Leonard “A People Choice provided excellent support with the appropriate legal documents and filing process in a spousal property petition after my husband passed. Lawyers wanted to charge me a fortune. However, once I spoke with someone at A People’s Choice, they took on my case and guided me through every step. A People’s Choice has years of experience, which gave me a sense of trust and confidence. I always got immediate feedback from every email request. If you need probate help, I would highly recommend A People’s Choice.” Sylvia A “I used A People’s Choice for help with a probate matter. My grandfather died Christmas of 2016. He had a living trust, but no one was able to find it. We went to A People’s Choice, and we were able to do a probate affidavit to get what was left of my grandfather’s estate. Took two days for the documents to be prepared and the bank accepted them without any questions. Sandy was the one who assisted us, and we really appreciate the help that was provided. A+ service.” David R. “The entire team at A People’s Choice were very supportive in our probate case. Losing a parent is extremely difficult, and so is the subsequent paperwork. A People’s Choice made it easier and charged a very fair price, saving us thousands in attorney fees. What I liked a lot was the transparency and digital tools used. Documents were managed via email and on a platform. Payment for court items was easy. I appreciate that they use modern methods in an old school industry and most things could be done remotely. All in all, I can definitely recommend A People’s Choice if your case is straightforward. Thank you to Sandy and team for helpful us get here! What a huge relief! I’m glad we had your support along the way. Made it way less stressful and way more manageable.”Jenn C. “When my father passed away without a will, we needed help handling the transfer of his assets. Since there weren’t significant assets, I didn’t want to spend too much on the legal paperwork. A People’s Choice offered just the right service we needed. In particular, the staff was very responsive to our document filing needs, helping to turn around corrections almost immediately. They helped to ease a tough situation.” Michael C. “VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! My experience with A People’s Choice was EXCELLENT!! I retained their services to help me with the probate process after unexpectedly losing my Mom. I received quotes from 2 lawyers locally and they were 3 to 4 times the price. All communications from the staff were punctual and very thoroughly explained. They were there to support me the entire time. Any and all questions I had were explained as needed with very quick responses. There were NO HIDDEN FEES or charges. They have a very easy to use portal to access all of the documents. I can’t say enough good things about the work that they did for me!!! Thank you to all the staff. You are an amazing team and I appreciate everything you did to help my family and I when we needed it most!!”Hisham A.“I had hoped to have my probate process taken care of by myself to save money. After the fourth attempt to file at the Clerk’s office, I left in tears and faced the reality of hiring an attorney. I look on the internet to find one and came across A People’s Choice. They offered a price that was way below what attorneys charge! They guided me through every step of the process and wrote up all the paperwork so that all I had to do was sign. It was really an amazing experience. They are a pleasure to work with.”D. Chase. “A People’s Choice helped us throughout our entire year-long probate making the process very easy and manageable while at the same time saving us thousands of dollars in lawyer’s fees. Not only were they extremely friendly and fast to respond to our questions but they made the process simple enough that we hardly ever had to contact the courthouse directly and we even had a hearing done without an appearance. Would highly recommend A People’s Choice to anyone!” A. Vuckovich “I had a great experience with my California probate case using A People’s Choice! The people that assisted me were so helpful. I certainly could not have done this probate by myself. The best part was that I was able to save over $10,000 in lawyer fees! All my emails were always returned so quickly. Needless to say, I am a very satisfied customer. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice to all my friends and family!” Joi C “A People’s Choice worked on my probate case for over 1 year. Their knowledge, dedication, and commitment to clients are exceptional, preparing the required legal documents, and all the court filings. They used the e-filing system which really expedited the process. They always answered my emails in a very timely manner and were professional. The probate process is long and sometimes seems overwhelming. It’s also very expensive, A People’s Choice saved me thousands of dollars as compared to an attorney. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice for your probate needs. It’s cost effective, and they handle the entire process from beginning to end!” C.K.. “Probate itself is a frustrating and expensive process. A People’s Choice was professional and courteous throughout a long probate process. Everyone I came in contact with at A People’s Choice was exceptionally helpful, patient, and professional. For those entering into the probate process, I must warn you that it is difficult to understand. The staff at A People’s Choice makes it as tolerable you could wish for. The people who work there were kind, efficient, and understanding. If you email your questions, they’ll get back to you and won’t make you feel like you are ignorant if you are unclear about any part of the process.” Marcel B “Can’t say enough about the level of service and professionalism I received working with A People’s Choice. Emails were always responded to quickly and thoughtfully. They really care about the process and helping you get the best result with no up-selling. Of course, they can’t provide legal advice, but I was referred to an attorney when I needed some questions answered who was very reasonable and easy to get a hold of as well. The process played out according to plan, and I ended up saving a lot of money by going with A People’s Choice over an attorney.” M. Rice “After not having my call returned from a probate lawyer, I looked into doing a Spousal Property Petition myself. A People’s Choice assisted me through the whole probate process and everything went smoothly. When I appeared in court, I didn’t have to say a word. The judge just said, “granted.” Using A People’s Choice I saved thousands of dollars, and I’m so glad that probate attorney didn’t return my call. I highly recommend A People’s Choice.” Donna G.“Thank you so much for all your help through this California probate process. By using your company instead of a California probate lawyer, we were able to cut our expenses dramatically. Thank you for answering my many questions and for giving me a heads up on documents that could be prepared in advance in order to save time and money. There was always someone available to help! Thank you again.”Craig K. “I am writing to give A People’s Choice my utmost recommendation. Living in New England, I found them on the web. After speaking with a staff member on the phone I had the confidence to give them my business. A People’s Choice handled my probate case with great professionalism and knowledge. My case turned out to be more complicated than originally believed, and the staff walked me through each step. They always responded promptly to my email questions. In the end, their service was exactly what I hoped for; they saved me thousands of dollars and allowed me to do it from across the country. They were truly a pleasure to work with.” K. Levenson “I needed help understanding and filling out legal documents, but I didn’t have enough money to pay for an attorney. After searching the internet, I found A People’s Choice. I was relieved to know that I would get the exact service that I needed at an affordable price. The staff was very professional and helpful with my legal documents. They worked around my schedule and responded to my emails in a timely manner. They took care of all the paperwork and filing and kept me posted. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice for your legal documents as you will get outstanding service at an affordable price. Sharon B. “I used A People’s Choice to prepare and file documents to probate my sister’s estate. I began the probate process in pro per and hired them after discovering the difficulty in processing the probate by myself. Very knowledgeable with good technology to keep me informed. Their fees were significantly less than what I would have had to pay for an attorney, yet their services were excellent. I can’s see where an attorney would have been any better (or as good). Highly recommend this service.”Ron C. The Right Reasons to Hire a Probate Attorney Everyone who has ever acted as the personal representative (living trusts) of the estate of a deceased person has felt a great sense of relief when the estate assets are settled and probate was finally over. Distributing the estate to heirs always comes with some form of relief for you as the deceased’s living trust. Mostly, during the estate administration process, probate administration takes less than a year, but it can be a stressful few months of legal duties. Things may also get tough is if the deceased individual owned estate property in different states hence the need for ancillary probate. You have to gather detailed information about your deceased relative’s financial affairs (including retirement accounts), and it is a difficult time watching your inheritance get smaller as you pay your deceased family member’s debts out of the real property. If there are no legal disputes, though, you do not need a lawyer. Therefore, the process of probate runs very smoothly because you are able to distribute the assets to heirs within the shortest time. In fact, you only need a California probate attorney if there are disputes such as these (during the administration of estates): Conflicting versions of the will Allegations of undue influence or forgery of the will submitted for probate Disputes about the deceased person’s debts and income taxes Very high-value assets Large debts owed by the estate such as estate taxes Rightful heirs who think they have been unjustly disinherited The Wrong Reasons to Hire a California Probate Attorney If you think you should hire a probate attorney purely out of caution, probate attorneys everywhere are ready to pounce and take your money with high prices on an hourly rate and initial consultation. You should not hire a probate lawyer for legal representation just because the probate forms have lots of details and are time-consuming to fill out as part of the legal requirements. You also should not hire a California probate attorney just because you are afraid of making a mistake on the forms and causing the probate process to take longer than it would if you had a lawyer’s legal advice. California lawmakers know that most people do not have the money to hire lawyers, even though every deceased person’s estate must be distributed among that person’s heirs with the participation of the probate courts. Therefore, like divorce and child adoption, probate legal proceedings are a court process meant to be accessible to everyone. What to Do Instead of Hiring a California Probate Attorney Yes, the courts in California publish a lot of information to help people follow the steps of probate on their own, but that does not mean that probate is an easy or stress-free legal issue. If you hire a registered legal document assistant to prepare your probate forms, you can have peace of mind as a personal representative for the deceased individual without breaking the bank. A People’s Choice is a Better Choice Than a Lawyer for Probate Probate is mostly paperwork, so you should hire a professional whose area of expertise is legal paperwork rather than a licensed attorney. Contact A People’s Choice instead of hiring an attorney and be done with probate without paying a lawyer’s hourly rate. Call now at 800-747-2780. Get help with your Legal documents today! A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your legal documents instead of an expensive attorney! CONTACT US!Was this article helpful? We would love to know your thoughts! If you found this article helpful, please check the LIKE button below. Your feedback helps us plan topics for future articles. By Sandra McCarthy|2021-08-26T09:41:39-07:00September 20th, 2020|Probate|Comments Off on Is It a Good Idea to Hire a California Probate Attorney?