Probate is a legal process for all estates valued over $184,500 (including real estate) when the property or assets are not held in Trust. Simply put, a court case must be initiated in order for the State of California to determine several factors, including, but not limited to: 


  • Does a Will exist? Is it valid?
  • Who are the rightful heirs and beneficiaries to the deceased?
  • How much is the decedent’s property worth?
  • What financial obligations must be first addressed?


The State Court investigation often requires extensive time, research and resources to determine these answers. The costs are paid for by the estate of the deceased. They are determined by a state court and the estate is then assigned an administrator. Once the court has addressed all these matters AND decided who the rightful heirs are, only then does it allow for the distribution of these assets. A couple important facts about probate:


  1. Probate cases often take several years to settle. Meanwhile, ALL PROPERTY AND ASSETS ARE FROZEN. That means any real estate in the name of the Deceased can’t be sold until the Probate is completed.
  2. The cost of Probate is approximately 6% or more of the total value of the estate, and that’s if there are no disagreements or other issues that frequently arise. In a case where an individual owns a home valued at $1,000,000 and has $100,000 in liquid assets the cost to the estate would exceed $65,000.
  3. Probate is a public court case where all your personal and financial affairs are made available to the general public.


If this sounds like a nightmare, it is. At Vanguard Legal Group, we’ve never written a Trust that went to Probate. Contact us today for a Will & Trust package that will protect you, your loved ones and everything you’ve worked so hard for.