We are your Southern California partner in estate administration and estate protection.

Experienced Lawyers In Probate And Estate Administration

Probate and estate administration can appear overwhelming, especially if you have been named executor under the deceased person’s will. It is difficult to manage new legal processes while dealing with the loss of a close family member or friend. We can offer guidance to make the entire process less painful and easier for you.

Your Guide To Probate In Southern California

At The Probate House L.C. we have over three decades of experience managing estate administration and probate in California. As your partner in probate, we can offer knowledgeable counsel during this difficult time. We are very experienced in assisting out-of-state administrators/executors.

Most importantly, we will respond to your questions about probate and see that your legal matter is handled properly, efficiently and cost-effectively.

We understand the California Probate Code and the local court rules. Our lawyers will take the time to explain to you the processes clearly. Some important steps in the probate process include:

  • Filing an inventory of the estate’s assets
  • Notifying creditors and handling unpaid bills
  • Organizing and selling personal and real property
  • Distribution of remaining assets to beneficiaries or heirs

California residents can avoid the probate process if they plan early. Trusts have become a popular method to avoid probate. Our attorneys are experienced in trusts and can help you or a family member establish a trust during the estate planning or administration process.

Arrange A Consultation To Learn More

We will help ease the stress of probate with experienced and compassionate legal counsel. Call our office in Torrance, California, to arrange a free initial consultation at 424-452-2375 or fill out our online contact form.

Understanding Probate And How It Impacts You

How to go about leaving or claiming an inheritance usually comes with many questions. You may be wondering about how a living trust should relate to a will or how to go about the process of probate for a will that’s already in place.

At The Probate House L.C. our lawyer have decades of experience helping people address these questions. We can guide you to a workable solution tailored to your specific circumstances.

Call 424-452-2375 to get started. With offices in Torrance, our attorneys serve clients throughout Southern California.

“Probate” commonly refers to a court-supervised process for transfer of the property of someone who has died.
Probate is necessary in California if the deceased person’s estate exceeds $166,250. A last will and testament does not prevent probate, but it does allow the decedent to choose who will be in charge of handling his or her final affairs and how their assets will be distributed. Every situation is different, and the necessity for probate will depend greatly on the titling of assets and other factors. We can help you determine if probate will be necessary or if another type of petition or procedure would be more appropriate, for example: 1) a spousal property petition; 2) small estate affidavit procedure (pursuant to Probate Code Section 13100); or 3) a Heggstad petition. If the will is disputed, then we can assist in the steps that must be taken to settle contested matters.
Probate can take a year or sometimes even longer, depending on the size of the estate. There are also numerous costs and fees associated with it. Trust administration generally does not take as long as probate. But trust administration carries with it more risk of wrongdoing by fiduciaries than probate. This is because there is less court involvement and supervision with trusts than probate.
There are many ways that a person can plan to avoid probate. These options predominately feature the use of trusts and other legal options that name a beneficiary.
One of the most common misconceptions about probate is that it is only necessary for decedents who leave wills. Intestate estates (i.e. estates where there is no will) must also pass through probate. In California, intestate probate involves an established order of succession. The decedent’s assets will pass to their next of kin, such as their surviving spouse. If they were not married, the next in line to inherit is their child, then their parents, then their siblings.
A will grant the decedent much more power over the handling of their estate. For example, in a will, you can specifically name someone to serve as an executor, also called a personal representative, to fulfill the terms of your will. If you do not name anyone, the court will appoint an administrator. The court also appoints an administrator when someone dies intestate.
When you place assets into a living trust, they can pass to your beneficiary or beneficiaries without court supervision. This allows the recipient to avoid probate. Some people choose to use living trusts as their primary estate planning document. Naming a trust as the beneficiary of your estate is commonly called a pour-over will. Upon your death, this brings non-trust assets into the trust. As we noted earlier, however, using a living trust rather than the court-supervised process of probate increases the possibility of wrongdoing by fiduciaries who are handling the estate.
The county in which the decedent lived at the time of death is the county in which you must file a probate case. You are not required to file a supplemental probate in another county within the state, only if it is outside of CA).
A probate conservatorship is when a judge appoints a conservator to manage the legal, financial and/or medical affairs of someone who cannot care for themselves. Typically, this occurs when someone has a severe mental or physical incapacity that inhibits their ability to make autonomous decisions. If someone cannot manage their estate, for example, then a judge may appoint an estate conservator to pay the conservatee’s bills and manage their assets.
Probate law can be complex as there are several aspects to be taken care of during the administration of an estate. For instance, before the estate is administered, income taxes, inheritance taxes and all other estate taxes must be paid. A probate attorney can oversee the estate administration, assist the estate executor with the estate tax returns and ensure that probate proceedings move ahead in adherence with the law.
The cost of a probate lawyer can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the size of the estate. Some probate attorneys charge by the hour, while others may charge a flat fee. Depending on the complexity of your estate, it may be possible for legal assistants to do some of the clerical work, which can reduce costs significantly. It is also important to note that the estate, not the estate executor is responsible for the legal fees. At The Probate House L.C., we guarantee to provide you with the best possible service for a fair rate. We’ll always be upfront about our fees, and we will try to reduce costs where possible.
Choosing a probate lawyer is a crucial decision and it should not be taken lightly. You should conduct as much research as possible before making any commitments. A reputable law firm will always be willing to answer any questions you have, such as how much they charge, how much experience they have and what exactly they can do for you. Your probate lawyer should be able to explain the details of your case to you in an understandable way. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make. You should go with an attorney you feel you can trust to ensure that your estate is handled according to your wishes.

Learn More About How Probate May Affect You

This FAQ has answered only a small fraction of the questions we hear from our clients. You probably still have many more questions and concerns that you wish to bring to a lawyer. Reach out to our experienced team at The Probate House L.C. to learn more about the probate process in California. To contact us, call 424-452-2375 or send us an email.