The Truth About Probate and Taxes
One of the steps during probate is paying taxes on the estate, just the way that businesses must file tax returns. Some people are disappointed to see their inheritance reduced by taxes. Fortunately, most estates do not require payment of estate taxes. That’s good news because estate taxes are higher than sales taxes and income taxes. For this reason, wealthy people often transfer some of their assets to trusts or employ other strategies to pass their property to their heirs without it going to probate. A big part of estate planning involves turning your property into non-probate assets so the heirs do not have to pay taxes on it during probate. Even when the deceased person had a detailed estate plan, some of their assets still have to go to probate.
A Simplified Process for Small Estates
The definition of what counts as a small estate in California changes every year. For estates opened in 2020, the cutoff is $166,250. If you are in charge of representing an estate worth $166,250 or less, you can settle the estate through one of California’s simplified probate alternatives instead of the full probate process. These simplified probate alternatives are less costly, and some of them take less than three months from start to finish. Which alternative process is right for the probate of a will or estate depends on the details of the deceased person’s financial situation.
Full Probate For Those Larger Estates
If your estate has a value over $166,250, you probably will need to file a full probate if the assets were not in a trust. A full probate process can take nine to twelve months to complete. There are many steps involved and lots of paperwork!
Should You Hire a Lawyer for Probate?
For simplified probate alternatives and uncontested large probate cases, there is no need to hire a lawyer. First, disputes rarely arise over estates small enough to be eligible for simplified probate. Even when the estate requires full probate, hiring a lawyer is usually unnecessary. If you want a professional to prepare your forms for probate of a will or estate, the best choice is a registered legal document assistant. Unlike paralegals, California law allows legal document assistants to work directly for consumers. This means you do not need to get a law firm involved in your probate process at all. Best of all, you avoid paying statutory probate fees that attorneys charge!
A People’s Choice Takes the Hassle Out of Probate
The best way to have a stress-free probate for an estate is to have a non-attorney legal document assistant prepare your probate court documents. Contact A People’s Choice about getting your probate forms prepared for a reasonable price. Call us today at 800-747-2780 for immediate, cost-savings help.
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