• Probate Attorney Alternatives

Probate Attorney Alternatives in California

Probating an estate may feel overwhelming at times and can be very expensive using an attorney. From completing all the probate forms to making court appearances, most people consider hiring an attorney to handle their probate matters. Though it may be convenient to hire an attorney, hiring one is not required under California’s probate laws. So are there probate attorney alternatives? Yes, in fact, most people are capable of handling probate matters on their own with some inexpensive professional help. Working with a registered legal document assistant can make things easier as well. For starters, it will save you thousands of dollars in attorney fees. Read on to learn about some key probate attorney alternatives for you to consider.

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“It did not matter that I did not live near their corporate office. A People’s Choice did a excellent job keeping me informed with everything that I needed to do. I saved THOUSANDS of dollars by going with A Peoples Choice.” R. Leonard
“I saved a lot of money by not having to pay the statutory percentage to an attorney. I want to thank A People’s Choice for the wonderful service they offer! An immense “THANK YOU!” R. Leonard

Probate Attorney Alternatives

Here are some probate attorney alternatives that will save you and the estate thousands of dollars.

Option 1: Do it yourself and pay an attorney consultation fee. If your loved one has passed away without his/her property being held in a trust, you can save yourself thousands of dollars by probating your loved one’s estate yourself. In California, most attorneys charge statutory fees when probating an estate. Fees can be as high as $20,000 for little work.  This is because fees are based on the gross value of an estate instead of the amount of time and effort put into drafting and filing paperwork. Use our probate calculator to see what the statutory attorneys fees would be in a particular case. As the estate’s executor or administrator, you can pay an attorney an hourly rate for necessary “legal advice.” You do not need to hire the attorney to represent you in the entire probate matter. On the contrary, you can oversee the entire probate of your loved one’s estate and receive periodic advice from an attorney when needed. We would, however recommend you hire a professional non-attorney probate service which is explained in more detail below.

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Option 2: Hire a probate legal document assistant. One of the best probate attorney alternatives is hiring an experienced probate legal document assistant. Hiring a registered probate legal document assistant will avoid you having to wade through a complex legal process and the voluminous legal forms all by yourself. People are discovering this to be the cheapest option to get through the complex California probate process without breaking the bank! A registered legal document assistant can not only help complete all the forms required, but a top-notch service will also offer case management along way, making sure the case moves along as quickly as possible. At A People’s Choice, we have helped many people throughout California probate their loved one’s estate for a reasonable fee. We do not charge statutory fees unlike attorneys. We provide low, flat fee document preparation and calendar management services. Contact us for more information about our full-service document preparation and processing

Option 3: File a Heggstad Petition. Filing a Heggstad Petition is only available under limited circumstances. This is one of the little known probate attorney alternatives which, like a full probate, can often be handled by an experienced probate legal document assistant. A Heggstad Petition requests the court to allow inadvertently omitted property to be placed into a trust, thus avoiding the probate process. Read more about filing a Heggstad Petition here.

Option 4: Transfer assets into a trust. One way to avoid probate is to transfer assets into a trust. Unfortunately, this must be done before someone dies. A living trust allows a person to transfer real property, bank accounts, investments, and other assets. As the trustee, he/she can administer trust assets. Upon death, trust beneficiaries can receive the trust assets without going through the probate process. If your loved one created a trust and did not “fund” it, as mentioned above you may be able to file a Heggstad petition to transfer estate assets. Contact us for more details. 

We have many resources throughout our website providing tips on how to probate an estate. Read through them to familiarize yourself with the process. We can walk you through the probate process. Contact us to learn about cheap probate attorney alternatives and how you can probate your loved one’s estate without the headache of paying thousands of dollars in attorney fees.

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By |2018-01-18T15:46:18+00:00April 29th, 2017|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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