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How to File Probate in Napa County

Do you need to file probate in Napa County? Probate involves the court-supervised process of paying a decedent’s outstanding debts and taxes and distributing any remaining assets to the beneficiaries. You can file probate in Napa County if the decedent had a will. You can also file probate if the decedent did not have a will. At A People’s Choice, we can help you complete the forms you need to probate your loved one’s estate. A People’s Choice completes most of our probate matters within a year. Read on to learn more about how to file probate in Napa County and how we can help.

Did you know that, despite what many people assume, you do not need to hire an attorney to probate your loved one’s estate? In this regard, if you have talked to an attorney, you were probably shocked at the fees a lawyer can charge to probate a simple estate. For this reason, people today are turning to other, low-cost options.

What our Clients Say...
“I 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
“I am writing to give A People’s Choice my utmost recommendation. I live in New England and 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
“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
“A People’s Choice is a very responsible and effective company, 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 to help you with your legal documents. You will be very satisfied with their work as I did!!!!”
C. Chiu
“A People’s Choice walked me through the entire probate process. They are so professional and helpful. Thank you to the staff for your guidance and patience to talk me through such difficult time. You made the process very smooth for me. I am so glad that I found you.” 
Sandie K.
“The staff at A People’s Choice 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 that I would get an answer on Monday. Lo and behold, I often got an answer within minutes! We are very pleased and will be referring our friends/family to A People’s Choice!”
L. Garrett
“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 any attorney. I want to thank 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
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.
“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.
“I needed help understanding and filling out legal documents but I didn’t have enough money to pay for an attorney. I searched the internet for a short period of time looking for help and when 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 on 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.

We Help to File Probate in Napa County!

  • or call 1-800-747-2780

Important Money Saving Tip!

The average house value in Napa County is $599,500and values are expected to increase about 3.3% within the next year. Probate attorneys charge statutory fees based on the gross value of the estate, starting at 4%, on a tiered scale. For example, attorneys fees for a $600,000 estate filed in Napa County would be $15,000! By using the flat fee services of an experienced probate legal document assistant, the estate can save thousands of dollars.

Click here to see how much you can save!

Here are some things you need to know. First, if you choose to hire an attorney to file probate in Napa County, you will pay the attorney a statutory fee (set by law) to probate the estate. Moreover, unlike other types of cases, the fee the attorney receives is calculated on the gross value of the estate, not the amount of work done. Accordingly, as a fee for services, the attorney is entitled to a statutory percentage of the total value of the estate. Unfortunately, the gross value of the estate does not consider debt or liabilities.

Here is an example of how the attorney fee structure works. If a house is worth $500,000 but has a mortgage of $475,000, the fee the attorney will receive is based on the $500,000 gross value, not the $25,000 net worth. For this reason, consider working with an experienced legal document preparer to resolve your probate matters. Doing so can save you thousands of dollars in attorney fees. Probate involves the court-supervised process of administering the contents of a deceased person’s estate. Administering the estate includes paying any outstanding debts and taxes before distributing any remaining assets to beneficiaries and heirs. Working with a knowledgeable legal document assistant, you can easily complete a probate case within a year of filing.

Napa County Probate Process

The estate’s Executor is responsible for probating the estate. You must probate the decedent’s estate in the county they last resided during the previous 30 days before death. If the decedent had a Will, the Will probably nominated someone (an Executor) to represent the state. Alternatively, if there was no will or if the will failed to name an Executor, the court will appoint an Administrator to serve the estate. Conversely, all the beneficiaries or heirs can collectively agree to which person is best to represent the estate.

In brief, probate begins by filing a Petition to Probate with the court. Next, the court will issue Letters which authorize the personal representative to act on behalf of the estate. Some of the duties of the representative include making an inventory of the decedent’s assets and getting assets appraised.  The representative is also responsible for paying all outstanding debts owed by the decedent. Accordingly, paying debts may require the representative to sell some or all the assets to pay taxes and outstanding debts. Keep in mind, the personal representative is not responsible for valuing the assets. The probate referee does this job. The probate referee will appraise all non-monetary assets for the representative . Lastly, once the value of the estate is determined and debts paid, the representative can ask the court for permission to distribute the remaining assets to the heirs.

Keep in mind, most probates are routine and straightforward. However, probate matters may become contested if beneficiaries believe the will does not clearly define which assets should go to whom. Furthermore, the personal representative must resolve all creditor claims must before the court will hear contested beneficiary claims.

Once the personal representative has settled all claims and paid all debts, they can distribute all remaining assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries and heirs. If the decedent died without a Will, the court will order the representative to distribute the assets according to California’s intestate succession laws.

Where to File Probate in Napa County

As mentioned above, probate is the legal process of validating a decedent’s will, supervising the complete administration of the will, and distributing the estate’s assets to beneficiaries and heirs. The court hears Napa County probate cases at the following place:

Historic Courthouse
Civil Division
825 Brown St.
Napa, CA 94559

Office hours are from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Furthermore, this court has approved efiling of probate documents through one of their approved efiling providers. In addition, as with most courts, the Napa County Superior Court offers online case information through the court’s website.

Napa County Probate Rules

Review local court rules before you file probate in Napa County. These Local Rules outline rules about how to provide parties with notice of the probate case and may also identify unique processes adopted by the Napa County court. In this regard, Rule 9 and subparts cover rules about probate cases. As an illustration, except for matters enumerated in Rule 9.3, the Napa County Probate Rules state that routine probate matters with no opposition and approved by a tentative ruling do not need a personal appearance. Conversely, if the case is not pre-approved by a tentative ruling, the tentative decision will show one of two resolutions. For example, the ruling might mention that the court is continuing the case for two weeks for defects to be corrected. Alternatively, the notes may show that the court is keeping the matter on the calendar and an appearance will be necessary.

Adjudicated Newspapers for Napa County

You must publish notice of probate in a local newspaper which the county has approved for legal notices. Contact the Court clerk for a current list of approved publications. Contact the probate division of the Napa County Superior Court at 707-299-1130.

Napa County Probate Examiner

The probate examiner holds a vital role in the probate process. Specifically, the job of the probate examiner is to check all probate documents filed to make sure there are no inconsistencies or missing information. Also, depending on the facts of the case, the probate examiner may point out questions or concerns for the judge to consider before they make a final ruling. These probate examiner “comments” are considered “probate notes” and should be reviewed before any scheduled hearing. Additional information can be submitted by the petitioner by filing a Supplement to the Petition.

As mentioned above, based on the tentative ruling, an appearance may or may not be required at your probate hearing. The Napa County Court posts daily Tentative Rulings online by 3 pm for the next court day’s hearings. Unfortunately, the court only publishes tentative rulings the day before the scheduled hearing. Therefore, it is impossible to file a Supplement to correct or clarify comments Remember, if the court does not post a tentative ruling on a particular matter, or if the tentative decision provides that an appearance is required, local rules require the parties to appear at the hearing.

Napa County Probate Referee

John W. Shackford is the acting probate referee for Napa County. He can be reached at:
P.O. Box 412
Napa, CA  94559-0412
Phone: (707) 255-8121 Ext. 16
FAX: (707) 253-9336
e-mail: jwsincnapa@aol.com

As mentioned above, the Probate Referee will value all non-cash assets owned by the decedent. These values are identified in the Inventory and Appraisal form which is later filed with the Court Clerk. Keep in mind, the probate referee charges an allowed statutory fee for these valuation services. Refer to this article for more information about the Probate Referee and his role and function in California probate cases.

How to File Probate in Napa County With a Lawyer

Contact A People’s Choice for more information on how to file probate in Napa County. Using our non-attorney probate services will undoubtedly save the estate thousands of dollars, putting more money into the pockets of the beneficiaries and heirs. We have helped thousands of families file probate in Napa County and complete the probate process without having to hire an attorney. Contact us today at 800-747-2780 to see how we can help you!

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By |2018-03-25T01:57:45+00:00March 24th, 2018|Probate|0 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.

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