Do you need to file probate in Santa Cruz County? A People’s Choice can help you fill out the forms you need to file for probate in Santa Cruz County. Despite common myths, you do not need to hire an attorney to probate an estate in California. To begin with, hiring a Santa Cruz probate attorney is very expensive. Most, if not all, Santa Cruz attorneys charge probate fees based on the California statutory fee schedule. Unfortunately, the statutory fees in probate cases are based on the total value of the estate. This means that the greater value the estate’s assets are, the more the attorney representing the estate can charge for the services. It is not a very fair system, and that is why more and more people are turning to A People’s Choice for low-cost, flat fee probate help.
If you hire a probate attorney, you will most likely pay a set statutory fee. The fee does not equate to how much work the attorney performs. The fee is simply based on a percentage of the gross value of the estate. For example, an attorney will receive a fee of 4% of the first $100,000 of the gross value of a probated estate. The fee compounds as the estate’s gross value increases. As long as the probate process is uncontested, you probably do not need an attorney and should be fine with working with a skilled legal document preparer.
Get help to File Probate in Santa Cruz County!
Probate attorneys can charge statutory fees based on the gross value of the estate. These fees start at 4%, and increase on a tiered scale. For example, attorneys fees for a $900,000 estate would be $21,000! By using the flat fee services of A People’s Choice, in this example, the estate would have saved $17,100!
Santa Cruz County Probate Process
The estate appointed executor or administrator can probate an estate. It costs $435 to file a probate petition. Make sure you review the Santa Cruz County local probate rules before you begin the process. Upon the filing of the petition, the administrator will be tasked with completing an inventory and appraisal of the decedent’s estate. A probate referee will appraise all non-monetary assets of the estate.
Next, the administrator will be tasked with notifying all interested parties (creditors and beneficiaries). Assets will be liquidated to pay any outstanding debts of the estate (including taxes). All remaining assets will be transferred to beneficiaries.
Probate Division – Santa Cruz County Superior Court
Probate cases filed in Santa Cruz County are held at the following location:
Superior Court of California
County of Santa Cruz
701 Ocean Street, Room 110
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
This is only location of the Santa Cruz Superior Court where probate matters can be filed. If you need to file probate in Santa Cruz County, A People’s Choice can not only prepare your probate documents but also make sure your documents are correctly processed with the the Probate Division of the Santa Cruz Superior Court.
Local Rules to File Probate in Santa Cruz County
Anyone who files probate in Santa Cruz County should familiarize themselves with the Santa Cruz County local rules. The local rules define court requirements for particular types of cases. In this regard, every county has different requirements and procedures. The rules for probates filed in Santa Cruz County can be found in Division 4 of the Santa Cruz County Probate Rules.
Adjudicated Legal Newspapers
Just about every probate filing requires its publication in a local newspaper. When you file probate in Santa Cruz County, the publication must be completed by a adjudicated legal newspaper. Keep in mind, there are other rules that may more specifically restrict which newspaper can handle the publication process. The general list of newspapers for Santa Cruz County can be found here.
Probate Referees Serving Santa Cruz County
Every probate matter filed in Santa Cruz County will be assigned a probate referee. The probate referee’s role is to value the non-cash probate assets. The Probate Referees for Santa Cruz County are:
(a) Lucia Areias, 463 West Meadow Drive, Palo Alto , CA 9 4306 . Telephone: ( 650 )321-9825, Fax: (650)320-8086
(b) Brian A. Nicholson, 9020 Soquel Drive, Suite 101, Aptos, CA 95003. Telephone: (831)684-1045, Fax: (831)684-1062.
Currently, Lucia Areias is assigned as the probate referee for all odd – numbered matters. On the other hand, Brian Nicholson is assigned to all even – numbered matters.
Policies and Procedures of Santa Cruz Probate Court
Although certainly not an all-inclusive list, the following are details to be aware when you need to file probate in Santa Cruz County.
- Santa Cruz County uses the standard probate Judicial Council forms for probate proceedings. Currently there are no additional local forms requires.
- The Santa Cruz court does not appoint attorneys to represent people in probate cases. If you need to file a probate in Santa Cruz county, you have three choices. First, you could hire a probate attorney which is very expensive. Second, you can hire a non-attorney legal document assistant that handles probate matters. They often offer flat fee service at a substantial savings. Third, you can try to prepare the paperwork on your own.
- Lodging an original will may require an extra payment of $50.00.
- A Notice of Hearing on the
- mandatory Judicial Council form must be submitted at the time of filing of the petition.
- Online case inquiry is not available for probate filings in Santa Cruz County.
- Appearing by phone at probate hearings through CourtCall may be an option.
Probate Examiner’s Notes for Santa Cruz Probate Cases
As of this writing, Santa Cruz County does not offers online access for probate matters. They do, however, have a rudimentary online report to check probate examiner notes prior to a scheduled hearing. Cases on the probate calendar are reviewed by the Probate Examiner at least three days prior to the hearing. Parties can review the Pre-Approval List on the Santa Cruz County Superior Court ’s website to see if an appearance is necessary. The Probate Examiner may contact the estate representative or their attorney to review procedural defects, either by telephone or fax. The Probate Examiner can be reached by phone at 831-420-2204.
In conclusion, an uncontested probate can be fairly simple with the right help. If you need help to file probate in Santa Cruz County, we encourage you to contact A People’s Choice. You will definitely save thousands of dollars using our non-attorney Santa Cruz County probate services as compared to using an attorney. More importantly, when you use our probate document preparation service, you will be able to complete a complex probate process without the stress of doing it on your own. Best of all, you will save yourself and the beneficiaries thousands of dollars!
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