When a loved one passes away, you may face the overwhelming task of settling their estate assets. The idea of how to probate a will constantly rings in your mind. Unfortunately, for some people, juggling attorney fees on top of funeral expenses and other administration expenses during the distribution of assets can make probate a difficult task. If this sounds like a familiar situation during probate administration, you may want to look into how to probate a will without a lawyer.

When a loved one passes away, you may face the overwhelming task of settling your estate assets. The idea of how to probate a will rings constantly in your mind. You can probate a will with or without the help of a licensed attorney. If you don’t want to face the hectic probate process by yourself, you can partner with a lawyer. Alternatively, you can seek alternative procedures on how to probate a will without a lawyer.

Unfortunately, for some people, juggling attorney fees on top of funeral expenses and other administrative expenses during the distribution of assets can make probate look hectic. If this happens to you during probate administration, you may want to look into how to probate a will without a lawyer.

How to Probate a Will: What Is Probate?

Put simply, probate is the process of settling an estate. Additionally, probate addresses several aspects of the decedent’s assets and distribution of property to primary heirs and potential beneficiaries. Common examples of processes during probate include:

  • Validating the will;
  • Identifying and inventorying all types of assets;
  • Paying outstanding debts and estate taxes; and
  • Distributing property according to the will or state law.

The first, and perhaps most important step of probate division involves proving the validity of a deceased person’s will and last testament. Of course, this step assumes that the individual executed a will before they died within a given time frame.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to a complicated probate process. If no will exists, the distribution of assets to beneficiaries and primary heirs takes a new twist. It happens in line with California’s intestate succession laws for common assets.

The real estate or personal property to the deceased person will undergo distribution based on state laws and through a streamlined process. A probate court will therefore oversee the administration of the probate estate and other personal belongings of the deceased. The probate judge makes decisions on how the entire court-supervised estate administration process runs.

Some of the items subject to probate include:

  • Real estate holdings
  • Estate funds
  • Cash accounts
  • Bond amounts, and
  • Bank accounts

A list of non-probate assets includes;

  • Retirement accounts
  • Life insurance policies
  • Brokerage accounts

Probate and Non-Probate Assets

Probate and non-probate assets exist in any type of probate. When you want to probate an entire estate, you must outline everything in your estate plan. The estate planning process can help you in saving plenty of time that your heirs could waste during probate hearings. During this process, you must also declare your secured debts and unpaid debts.

This may also entail outlining the creditor claims of potential creditors. Distribution of assets to heirs doesn’t necessarily demand a formal probate petition. However, for complicated scenarios, you must seek a petition for discharge. The probate court process requires proper coordination between the executor and the county clerk.

A probate court judge may also provide the necessary legal control during your application for probate. As a common rule of thumb, the application for probate must entail filing every paperwork and common form probate.

A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by helping you probate your will instead of hiring an expensive attorney!


The Pros & Cons of Probating a Will Without a Lawyer

What is probate estate

For most independent executors or administrators, probating a will or administrating an estate is straightforward. It requires little to no legal representation or filing requirements. If considering to probate a will or to administer an estate, contact us for your legal document preparation needs or provision of legal advice regarding probate.

The Pros of Handling Your Own Probate

Most lawyers will tell you that probating a will without a probate lawyer may cause problems. Nevertheless, we have helped hundreds of people do just that, and save thousands of dollars.  You can use our convenient online probate calculator to see how much you would save by handling the entire process alone.

Additionally, handling this legal process involves collecting information to accurately complete required court forms. For example, you should collect copies of documents outlining the types of estate assets and property of the estate left by the deceased at their time of death.

This responsibility can overwhelm some people, thus influencing them to hire a probate lawyer. However, enlisting the help of a registered legal document preparation assistant like A People’s Choice can help reduce your stress and get the job done.

The Cons of Not Hiring an Attorney for Probate

Though several benefits of probating a will without a lawyer exist, in certain situations, you may want to retain counsel during probate administration.

First, attorneys can provide legal representation to preserve the estate’s assets and limit liability. Therefore, in the event someone challenges the will, you may want to hire probate lawyers to provide some legal authority.

Such a challenge could involve someone claiming that the decedent did not have the mental capacity to write a will and identify the sole beneficiary. However, heirs or adult beneficiaries usually want to work together to close an estate.

Furthermore, if the type of property involves the administration of millions of dollars, you may need an experienced attorney. Defending an estate without a court-appointed attorney could potentially result in a void will and title to property. Subsequently, the estate’s heirs and beneficiaries may not receive the inheritance the testator desired.

How to Probate a Will Without A Lawyer: The High Cost of Attorney Fees

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Unfortunately, attorney fees for administering a will may seem expensive depending on the value of the gross estate. For example, due to statutory probate fees, a probate attorney could collect at least 4% of the first $100,000, plus 3% of the next $100,000, plus 2% of the next $800,000 of the gross value. If interested, you can calculate the statutory fees in a California probate using our online probate calculator.

As you can see, the attorney fees (probate costs) increase along with the gross value of the entire estate. For example, an average California estate with a house valued at $300,000 would automatically accrue attorney fees of $9,000 plus additional sums allowed by the probate court for additional fiduciary duties.

In the simplest of estates, attorney fees often range from $10,000 to $15,000. Fortunately, in California, the will’s executor or estate administrator doesn’t need to hire an attorney if they believe that this practice of law won’t change anything. By representing the estate, you can help put thousands of extra dollars into the beneficiaries’ pockets using simpler processes.

Do You Need Help from A People’s Choice?

If your loved one has recently passed away and you need legal help in probating the estate, contact us. We can easily help you maneuver through the California probate process or find alternatives to probate without having to hire a lawyer during a normal probate proceeding or before a probate application.

At A People’s Choice, we provide all the necessary probate legal document preparation services. We help you manage the probate case from beginning to end. Also, we can help you file probate if the decedent resided or owned real property in California.

For low-cost flat-fee help preparing all documents needed to probate your loved one’s estate, call 1-800-747-2780 to speak with one of our experienced probate assistants.

Let us help you probate your will today!

A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your probate forms instead of an expensive attorney!

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