Despite common belief, you do not have to hire an attorney to probate an estate in California. Most estate executors or administrators often believe they are not capable of probating an estate without legal representation by a probate attorney. This is simply not true. Unless estate assets are in controversy with family members or creditors, most estates can easily be probated. The probate process requires little to no court appearances or trials and the process is completely “document driven”. Hiring the services of an experienced California probate legal document assistant is one of the best cheap probate options in California. More importantly, using the service of a legal document assistant is substantially cheaper than hiring a California probate attorney!
Affordable, Cheap Probate Options in California
Probating an estate in California with an attorney can be costly. This is because the probate attorney fees in California are based on a statutory percentage of the gross value of the estate. For example, if the gross value of estate’s assets are $160,000, an attorney will receive up to $5,800 in fees. The fee does not correlate to how much work the attorney actually performs.
Hire a Registered Legal Document Assistant
One of the best (and often unknown) cheap probate options in California is to hire a registered legal document assistant to help fill out and file the California probate paperwork. Probate primarily consists of filing paperwork with the court. Most probate executors or administrators rarely make court appearances. Instead of paying thousands of dollars in attorney fees, hire a legal document assistant. At A People’s Choice, our staff can help you administer your loved one’s estate by completing all the required probate forms you need to begin and complete the probate. We also manage and monitor the probate process, giving you all the necessary help along the way, until the case is closed.
Filing a Heggstad Petition
When considering cheap probate options in California, you may consider filing a Heggstad petition. Filing a Heggstad Petition is a court process used to transfer the decedent’s assets into a trust. This process is typically used when real estate or other high-value assets were inadvertently left out of the decedent’s living trust. Successfully transferring assets into a previously established living trust of the decedent can help you avoid probate altogether. Contact us for more information about how to file a Heggstad Petition to avoid having to file a full California probate.
Simplified Probate Proceedings in California
There are other cheap probate options in California. Depending on the gross value of the estate, the estate may qualify to be administered under one of California’s simplified “small estate” probate procedures. Simplified probate procedures allow an executor to distribute trust assets without having to go through the traditional probate process. You can use the simplified probate if the estate has a gross value up to $166,250.
One of the most utilized cheap probate options in California is filing a simple affidavit. The affidavit process is only available for estates that either 1) have no real property and the total value is under $166,250 or 2) have real property with a gross value of less than $55,425. If the estate qualifies, probate can be skipped altogether. You will have to prepare an affidavit stating that the heirs and beneficiaries are entitled to specific property. Again, the value of the estate must be less than $166,250 or any real property held within the estate must be less than $55,425 in value.
Spousal Property Petition
Another affordable probate option is to use a spousal property petition. There is no limit on the amount of property that can be transferred under this method. Contact us online for more details about cheap probate alternatives in California or call now at 800-747-2780.
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