If a decedent lived in Merced County or owned real property in Merced County, you may find yourself facing having to file probate in Merced County. Since the probate process varies from county to county, this article will give you useful tips to file probate in Merced County. Fortunately, you do not have to hire an attorney to file for probate in Merced County. Probate fees for attorneys are set by state law. The attorney’s fee is based on the gross value of the estate. The attorney’s fee is not directly tied to the level of work involved in probating an estate. For example, an attorney will receive higher fees for an estate valued at $900,000 in comparison to an estate valued at $300,000. Read on to learn more.
Probate in Merced County Overview
Property subject to the jurisdiction of the probate court must be probated. Probate consists of the legal process of transferring the property of the deceased to his/her beneficiaries or heirs. Property valued at $150,000 or less may qualify for California’s simplified probate procedures.
Begin the probate process in Merced County by filing a Petition to Probate with the local probate court clerk. The petitioner (executor or administrator — person representing the estate) must provide all interested parties with notice. The representative must also complete an inventory and appraisal of the decedent’s assets and debts. All non-monetary assets must be appraised. The probate referee’s appraisal must be filed with the court.
The representative may need to liquidate the decedent’s assets to pay creditors and estate taxes. Any remaining assets can be distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries or heirs. Costs involved with filing probate in Merced County include the following:
- Surety bond
- Publication costs
- Appraisal costs with Probate Referee
- Court filing fees
Where to File Probate in Merced County
The Civil Division of the Merced Superior Court hears all probate matters including the probate of a decedent’s estate, guardianship and conservatorship matters. The Merced probate court is at the following address:
627 W. 21st St.
Merced, CA 95340
Merced County Adjudicated Legal Newspapers
Contact the Merced County Clerk’s office for a list of adjudicated legal newspapers available for publication of the probate notice. The telephone number is 209-385-7501.
Policies and Procedures of Merced Probate Court
Although certainly not an all-inclusive list, you should take note of the following when you need to file probate in Merced County.
- Merced County probates can be filed using the standard probate Judicial Council forms for probate proceedings.
- Efiling is available for probate cases.
- Court appointed attorneys are not available when filing a probate case. When someone files probate they need to 1) hire a probate attorney (very expensive); 2) hire a non-attorney legal document assistant that handles probate matters or 3) try to do the paperwork on their own.
- A $50 fee may be required to be paid when lodging an original will.
- Probate cases are heard in Dept. 10.
- Online case inquiry is available for all Merced County probate matters.
- Appearing by phone at probate hearings through CourtCall may be an option.
Local Rules For Probate in Merced County
Merced County has specific local rules parties must follow when probating an estate. There are no special local forms when filing for probate. Work with a legal document preparer that is knowledgeable of local probate rules. This will avoid any delays in the process.
Probate Examiner’s Notes for Merced County Probate Cases
Probate matters are heard in Dept 10. Court Call is available to appear by phone and can be contacted at 888-882-6878 or through their website.
Probate Referees Serving Merced County
There is currently only one Probate Referee that services Merced County. The role of the probate referee is to appraise and value all the non-cash probate assets. The probate referee serving Merced is:
R. Michael Wright
21 Theall Street
Sonora, CA 95370
Phone: (209) 532-0628
FAX: (209) 532-9112
In conclusion, if you need help to file probate in Merced County, contact A People’s Choice. People save thousands of dollars using our non-attorney Merced County probate services as compared to using an attorney. You can complete the complex probate process without the stress of doing it on your own when you use our services. You will also save the beneficiaries thousands of dollars, and that is the best new yet! Call us today at 800-747-2780.
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