After someone dies in California, an estate may have to go through probate. If the estate is large and the decedent had a Will, the first step is to get Letters Testamentary in probate. Probate in California involves many steps. Although probate is complicated, you will not likely need an attorney to handle probate in California. An experienced legal document preparer can help for most estates. Read on to learn more.

What our Clients Say...
“I used A People’s Choice to prepare and file documents to probate my sister’s estate.  I began the probate process in pro per and hired them after discovering the difficulty in processing the probate by myself.  Very knowledgeable with good technology to keep me informed.  Their fees were significantly less than what I would have had to pay for an attorney, yet their services were excellent. I can’s see where an attorney would have been any better (or as good). Highly recommend this service.”
Ron C.
“Can’t say enough about the level of service and professionalism I received working with A People’s Choice. Emails were always responded to quickly and thoughtfully. They really care about the process and helping you get the best result with no up-selling. Of course, they can’t provide legal advice, but I was referred to an attorney when I needed some questions answered who was very reasonable and easy to get a hold of as well. The process played out according to plan, and I ended up saving a lot of money by going with A People’s Choice over an attorney.”
M. Rice
“I am writing to give A People’s Choice my utmost recommendation. Living in New England, I found them on the web. After speaking with a staff member on the phone I had the confidence to give them my business. A People’s Choice handled my probate case with great professionalism and knowledge. My case turned out to be more complicated than originally believed, and the staff walked me through each step. They always responded promptly to my email questions. In the end, their service was exactly what I hoped for; they saved me thousands of dollars and allowed me to do it from across the country. They were truly a pleasure to work with.”
K. Levenson
“A People Choice provided excellent support with the appropriate legal documents and filing process in a spousal property petition after my husband passed. Lawyers wanted to charge me a fortune. However, once I spoke with someone at A People’s Choice, they took on my case and guided me through every step. A People’s Choice has years of experience, which gave me a sense of trust and confidence. I always got immediate feedback from every email request. If you need probate help, I would highly recommend A People’s Choice.”
Sylvia A
“I had a great experience with my California probate case using A People’s Choice! The people that assisted me were so helpful.  I certainly could not have done this probate by myself.  The best part was that I was able to save over $10,000 in lawyer fees!  All my emails were always returned so quickly. Needless to say, I am a very satisfied customer.  I would highly recommend A People’s Choice to all my friends and family!”
Joi C
“When my mother-in-law passed away last year, we didn’t know what to do. We contacted A People’s Choice and from day one they were very helpful. They held our hand every step of the way, and if I had a question any time of the day or night someone got back to me within a few hours. I highly recommend A People’s Choice if you don’t know what to do and don’t want to pay the high price of a lawyer, especially if you don’t have much money.”
Mikki C
“A People’s Choice helped us throughout our entire year-long probate making the process very easy and manageable while at the same time saving us thousands of dollars in lawyer’s fees. Not only were they extremely friendly and fast to respond to our questions but they made the process simple enough that we hardly ever had to contact the courthouse directly and we even had a hearing done without an appearance. Would highly recommend A People’s Choice to anyone!”
A. Vuckovich
“I must say that A People’s Choice is a very responsible and effective company. The staff there is very nice and replied to all my questions by email quickly. With their help, I accomplished the probate in 8 months successfully and saved at least $10,000.00 in attorney fees, so I strongly recommend everybody to contract with A People’s Choice and let them help you with your legal documents. You will be very satisfied with their work as I did!!!!”
C. Chiu
“Thanks to A People’s Choice, I was able to get through a probate matter very smoothly. I had not one issue with the Courts. They guided me through the whole probate until the very end. I live up north, but that didn’t matter, A People’s Choice did an excellent job keeping me informed with everything that I needed to do. I saved THOUSANDS of dollars by going with A People’s Choice. You can’t go wrong, no matter what your needs are. I saved a lot of money by not having to pay out a percentage to an attorney. Many thanks to the staff at A People’s Choice for the great help they give to everyone in their times of need like I was! Thank You.”
R. Leonard
“When my father passed away without a will, we needed help handling the transfer of his assets. Since there weren’t significant assets, I didn’t want to spend too much on the legal paperwork. A People’s Choice offered just the right service we needed. In particular, the staff was very responsive to our document filing needs, helping to turn around corrections almost immediately. They helped to ease a tough situation.”
Michael C.
“I used A People’s Choice for help with a probate matter. My grandfather died Christmas of 2016. He had a living trust, but no one was able to find it. We went to A People’s Choice, and we were able to do a probate affidavit to get what was left of my grandfather’s estate. Took two days for the documents to be prepared and the bank accepted them without any questions. Sandy was the one who assisted us, and we really appreciate the help that was provided. A+ service.”
David R.
“A People’s Choice worked on my probate case for over 1 year. Their knowledge, dedication, and commitment to clients are exceptional, preparing the required legal documents, and all the court filings. They used the e-filing system which really expedited the process. They always answered my emails in a very timely manner and were professional. The probate process is long and sometimes seems overwhelming. It’s also very expensive, A People’s Choice saved me thousands of dollars as compared to an attorney. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice for your probate needs. It’s cost effective, and they handle the entire process from beginning to end!”
“Probate itself is a frustrating and expensive process. A People’s Choice was professional and courteous throughout a long probate process. Everyone I came in contact with at A People’s Choice was exceptionally helpful, patient, and professional. For those entering into the probate process, I must warn you that it is difficult to understand. The staff at A People’s Choice makes it as tolerable you could wish for.  The people who work there were kind, efficient, and understanding.  If you email your questions, they’ll get back to you and won’t make you feel like you are ignorant if you are unclear about any part of the process.”
Marcel B
“I needed help understanding and filling out legal documents, but I didn’t have enough money to pay for an attorney. After searching the internet, I found A People’s Choice. I was relieved to know that I would get the exact service that I needed at an affordable price. The staff was very professional and helpful with my legal documents. They worked around my schedule and responded to my emails in a timely manner. They took care of all the paperwork and filing and kept me posted. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice for your legal documents as you will get outstanding service at an affordable price.
Sharon B.
“After not having my call returned from a probate lawyer, I looked into doing a Spousal Property Petition myself.  A People’s Choice assisted me through the whole probate process and everything went smoothly.  When I appeared in court, I didn’t have to say a word. The judge just said, “granted.”  Using A People’s Choice I saved thousands of dollars, and I’m so glad that probate attorney didn’t return my call.  I highly recommend A People’s Choice.”
Donna G.
“A People’s Choice walked me through the entire probate process. This company is very professional and helpful and made a scary probate pretty much stress free. I would send an email with a question I had thought of over the weekend with the expectation I would get an answer on Monday but lo and behold, I often got an answer within minutes! Thank you to the staff for your guidance and patience to talk me through such a difficult time. You made the process very smooth! Probably saved us about $10,000! We are very pleased and will be referring our friends/family to A People’s Choice!”
L. Garrett.
“I had hoped to have my probate process taken care of by myself to save money. After the fourth attempt to file at the Clerk’s office, I left in tears and faced the reality of hiring an attorney. I look on the internet to find one and came across A People’s Choice. They offered a price that was way below what attorneys charge! They guided me through every step of the process and wrote up all the paperwork so that all I had to do was sign. It was really an amazing experience. They are a pleasure to work with.”
D. Chase.
“Thank you so much for all your help through this California probate process.  By using your company instead of a California probate lawyer, we were able to cut our expenses dramatically.  Thank you for answering my many questions and for giving me a heads up on documents that could be prepared in advance in order to save time and money.  There was always someone available to help! Thank you again.”
Craig K.

Get help with Letters Testamentary in Probate!

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What is Probate?

Probate is a multi-step process. During probate, the court-administered process requires itemizing and valuing a deceased person’s estate. Once that valuation is complete, the court can approve final distribution. With this in mind, it can be nine months or more before the heirs and survivors are eligible to receive their inheritance.  If the decedent created a will, probate distributes the estate assets according to what the will says. If the decedent died without a will, probate will distribute the estate assets according to California’s intestate succession laws.

What are Letters Testamentary?

The court issues Letters Testamentary in probate when there is a Will. On the contrary, if the decedent did not have a Will, the Letters are called Letters of Administration. Letters Testamentary provide an appointed executor (or personal representative) the right and authority to settle the decedent’s estate according to the terms of the Will. In some situations, the court will require the executor to post a bond before getting Letters of Testamentary in probate. For example, the last will of the decedent may waive the bond requirement. Sometimes a decedent’s will specifies a specific bond amount. However, even if everyone agrees to waive bond, most courts will require a bond if a personal representative lives outside California.

Letters Testamentary Give Authority

The personal representative is typically not able to act on behalf of the estate until the court issues Letters. As a result, getting Letters of Testamentary in probate is a vital document in the probate process. For example, Letters officially permit the executor to act in the place of the decedent. In other words, issued Letters allow the representative to contact and speak to banks, creditors, pay bills and take other action on behalf of the estate. At the same time, Letters Testamentary permit the representative to complete an inventory of the decedent’s estate. This inventory includes an appraisal of all non-monetary assets, and sometimes, liquidation of assets. With Letters, the personal representative can use the estate assets to pay taxes and creditors.

As you can see, without getting Letters of Testamentary in probate, the personal representative would have difficulty settling an estate. In the end, Letters Testamentary are the key component to a personal representative being able to perform all of their duties. Remember, the probate process is complex, and it is crucial you prepare the probate documents correctly. A People’s Choice has over 40 years of experience and can help you through this process.

How to Get Letters Testamentary in Probate

First, if the decedent had a Will, you should lodge the original Will with the probate court. Next, you must prepare a probate petition. Include a copy of the decedent’s Will and death certificate with the petition. There are usually numerous attachments to the probate petition. Remember, as soon as you file the petition, the court will schedule a hearing date.

The next step is publication. The publication is part of the critical noticing requirement in all probate cases. You must meet several rules and specifications to properly complete publication. Keep in mind, the publication can cost between $200 and $800 on average. At the probate hearing, if there was a Will, the court will verify its validity and confirm the personal representative or executor to administer the estate. If there is no Will, the court will appoint an administrator for the estate. The duties of a personal representative or the administrator are the same. Each is empowered to act in a responsible and fiduciary manner to settle the estate.

Attorney Not Required

The probate process takes approximately nine months to complete. Although this may be true, the process is very procedural. Because of this, it is quite easy for someone to complete a California probate without hiring a lawyer. However, in the event you don’t want to hire an attorney, we wouldn’t recommend trying to complete probate without any professional help. Using the services of a legal document assistant is a great way to save money, avoid statutory attorney fees and easily settle your probate estate. In reality, a legal document assistant with probate expertise can quickly help you navigate the probate process.

A People’s Choice offers complete guidance during probate of your loved one’s estate. Not only do we help to complete and file all paperwork, we also provide case management services to make sure your case stays on track. We can help you get Letters of Testamentary or Letters of Administration in your probate case. Contact us today to start the process.

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


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