Why probate creates worries?

WHEN someone dies without a Living Trust, the decedent’s es­tate is subject to a probate. Pro­bate simply means “to prove the will”. The process is designed to prove that the decedent actually had died and that the will pre­sented for “proving” is actually the valid will.
Today, it probably is best to describe probate as the court-supervised process by which a decedent’s assets are collected, assessed, and distributed to beneficiaries. Due to the formal process involved, it usually takes between 6 to 18 months to final­ize it.
The process also requires that all creditors of the decedent be notified and given the chance to make a claim against the dece­dent’s estate.
Disadvantages of probate
Expensive- Probate can be­come quite costly, as illustrated in the probate fees below.
Lengthy – The average length of time for probate to get final­ized is between 6 to 18 months, as previously mentioned.
Public – Probate is a public process. Anyone, after paying a fee to the court clerk, can access probate files, which includes all financial information of the de­cedent or nowadays, it can even be more conveniently accessed online.
Restrictions – Since the court controls the process, disburse­ment of money to the beneficia­ries can possibly get slower and more complex than you would have wanted it and are often sub­ject to court approval.
Probate fees
Currently, California Probate Code §10800 allows compensa­tion for the Executor (sometimes called Administrator or Personal Representative) and for the At­torney for the Executor of an Es­tate as follows:
• 4% on the first one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
• 3% on the next one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
• 2% on the next eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000).
• 1% on the next nine million dollars ($9,000,000).
• ½% on the next fifteen mil­lion dollars ($15,000,000).
• Above twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000), a reason­able amount to be determined by the Court.
Hence, based on the above, the Probate fee on an estate of $1,000,000 is equal to $23,000. But remember that both Execu­tor and Attorney could be paid the same amount, which could increase the probate cost to $46,000 and that is not including court filing fees!
It is no surprise that people would want to avoid probate as much as they possibly can.

Evangeline Giron

Evangeline is a California registered tax preparer, a legal document assistant for the general public, and a freelance paralegal offering assistance to various attorneys. She is a member of the court-endorsed California Association of Legal Document Assistant (CALDA) and an Associate Member (Non-attorney) of the LA County Bar Association (LACBA).

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