Losing a loved one in Mariposa County, CA, (or anywhere for that matter) can be devastating. In addition to dealing with the emotional whiplash, the family must take action to resolve the person’s estate. If you are the executor, this is of particular concern, and you may be wondering how to file probate in Mariposa County Probate Court.
If all this is new to you, you may be clueless about what to do to ensure the probate process goes seamlessly. This article is here to assist you. Read on to discover how to file probate in Mariposa County Probate Court and what to do to get started.
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What Is Probate?
The legal process of disbursing a deceased person’s estate is called probate. This process includes a) creating an inventory of the deceased’s assets and 2) administering the assets to debt holders and beneficiaries.
All US states have different probate laws, also called probate codes. California, of course, has its own probate code. This probate code contains the rules that govern how probate in Mariposa County should play out. In the California probate process, the probate process hinges on the executor, judge, probate court, attorney/legal representative, and, of course, the beneficiaries.
Do You Need to Go Through Probate?
Some people believe that a last will and testament cancels out the need for probate. That’s not always the case, but it’s true that probate is not necessary for all instances.
Determine if the decedent’s assets are probate or non-probate. If the decedent’s assets are non-probate, probate won’t be necessary. This makes your job much easier if you’re handling your loved one’s estate.
When Probate Is Necessary
Real property or other estate property has to go through probate if:
- It’s owned only by the decedent (not joined property)
- There are no specific arrangements made to avoid probate.
For instance, let’s say 90-year-old Jean has passed away. Her husband died 20 years ago, and she is the sole owner of her home and financial accounts. She hasn’t set up any special trusts so her estate can avoid probate, but she does have a will.
Jean’s estate must go through probate. If she does not have a will, Jean’s estate will go through intestate probate (probate without a will).
When Probate Isn’t Necessary
There are a few ways to avoid probate. Here are two common scenarios. To learn more, check out our article on avoiding probate.
Joint Assets or Designated Beneficiary: Non-probate assets often have the right of survivorship or beneficiaries. For instance, they may be real property with two persons as joint tenants, a shared bank account, and retirement benefits with a chosen beneficiary. Following the deceased’s passing, these assets solely become properties of the survivor or beneficiary.
Small Estates: A small estate doesn’t go through the full probate process. The definition of small varies across states, but for Mariposa County, a small estate is $100,000 or less. There are some other restrictions as well, but if an estate meets all the requirements for escaping probate, it can go through a simplified process instead.
How to File Probate in Mariposa County Probate Court in 5 Steps
Have you determined that you do need to file probate? We’ve got you covered. Below are six steps needed for Mariposa County Court.
1. File the Petition
The first step is to file a request with the Mariposa County Court to begin the probate process. Once you file a petition, the court arranges for a hearing 30 days after the filing date.
2. Appoint a Personal Representative
Did the deceased name an executor in their will? That person must decide whether they want to shoulder the responsibility. In most cases, the executor files for probate at the county courthouse or makes arrangements for someone else (perhaps another family member) to take over as a personal representative.
If the will doesn’t appoint an executor, someone can volunteer for the position. As a last resort, the court appoints a professional executor.
3. Submit the Required Documents
Once you’ve decided to act as executor, you have to submit the correct documents to the county offices. These documents should include the death certificate of the deceased and the original document of the will.
The Mariposa County Court verifies the documents. When you’ve been approved, that’s when the probate process begins in earnest. These documents then become part of county records.
4. Send Notice to Those Involved
After the court has approved the probate and set a date for the hearing, the executor/personal representative must send notice to anyone with a potential stake in the estate. That includes creditors and beneficiaries.
This notice has to appear in the local newspaper or mail for a few weeks consecutively. This follows probate court directives to invite any objections. In other words, if an heir doesn’t think the estate is being handled well, this is when they have a chance to say their piece.
5. Inventory and Distribution of the Deceased’s Assets
If there are no objections, the executor gets to work on inventorying the entire estate. They have to find all of the deceased assets and pay all their debts including all the necessary fees required in the probate. Finally, they share what remains of the personal property among the beneficiaries according to the directions in the will.
About Mariposa County Court: Common Questions
We understand that a quick overview won’t give you all the answers about how to file probate in Mariposa County Court. Here’s some more specific information about filing probate in this county.
What Document Do I Need to file Probate in Mariposa County Court?
Here are the three basic documents required for probate in the Mariposa County Court.
1. The Will
You have to provide the decedent’s will if one exists. This is important to prevent forgeries and tampering with the will. If there is no will, California intestacy rules come into play.
2. The Death Certificate
You need a copy of the death certificate of the deceased to file for probate.
3. Petition to Probate Form
This form requests that the petitioner be named the executor/personal representative of the probate process. The will alone can’t appoint an executor; you have to go through this step as well.
Where Is the Mariposa Probate County Court?
The registered probate court in Mariposa County in California is the Mariposa Superior Court. Visit the Mariposa Superior Court website (linked above) for the most up-to-date information about addresses, parking, and business hours.
What’s the Cost of Probate in Mariposa County Superior Court?
In any California county, there is a $435 filing fee. After that, unless you have to file additional forms due to complications, the required fees are based on the estate’s value. The value of the estate is estimated by the executor/personal representative.
Note that the court doesn’t include debts when calculating the probate fee. Consequently, the probate fee is a percentage of the value of the gross assets. This means that if the deceased estate is evaluated to be worth $500,000 and has a debt of $400,000, the probate percentage is based on a $500,000 value.
The probate fee is as follows:
- Four percent of the first 100,000 dollars of the estate
- Three percent of the next 100,000 dollars of the estate
- Two percent of the next 800,000 dollars of the estate
- One percent of the next 9 million dollars of the estate
- 0.5 percent of the next 15million dollars of the estate.
For a full explanation of fees, check out Mariposa County’s fee schedule.
How Long Does It Take to File Probate in Mariposa County Court?
Probate begins when the executor files the will with the county clerk. The length of time the whole process depends on the estate’s size, the number of beneficiaries, and the amount of taxes and debts to pay. Beneficiary squabbling, questions about the veracity of the will, and other problems can also arise.
On average, a probate process takes about two years from the date of the deceased’s death. However, it can go on for longer if there are legal issues and lawsuits.
Is It Necessary to Hire a Probate Attorney?
The probate process is always time-consuming. Hiring a probate attorney is not a must, but it can assist you in getting through the process. Because they have experience and ample knowledge on this sort of topic, the probate process tends to be more straightforward with a lawyer. Errors in filing, documenting, and inventory can be detrimental to probate, but with a professional probate attorney, you can evade them. Also, probate attorneys will help to resolve legal issues that might arise during probate.
However, a probate lawyer can be prohibitively expensive. There is a great middle-ground if you want professional help but don’t want to hire a lawyer: A People’s Choice.
How A People’s Choice Can Help You File Probate in Mariposa County
Probate is a simple process when done right, but a simple mistake can send the whole project into shambles. That is where A People’s Choice comes in. A People’s Choice can help you organize and put to order all of your necessary documents for the Mariposa County Probate Court. With our guidance, you can enjoy a stress-free and simple document filing submission process.
A People’s Choice handles probate and other legal document needs in many surrounding counties as well, including Kings County, Alameda County, Butte County, Amador County, Colusa County, Fresno County, Glenn County, and more. Contact us now at @800-747-2780 to prepare the correct documents at an affordable rate.
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