Probate is the process a court uses to supervise the transfer of assets from a person who has died to the new, lawful owners. But first, the court must ensure that all of the decedent's debts and taxes are paid. Probate can be relatively fast and inexpensive in a few cases: where the decedent's assets are under $100,000, there is no real estate in the estate, there is no claim for reimbursement by Medi-Cal, the surviving spouse inherits all assets and there are no child beneficiaries.

In most other cases, probate is a lengthy, expensive and often frustrating process. Fees in probate include: attorney fees, which are a fixed percentage of the estate and set by California law, and court filing fees, set by the county in which the probate will be handled.  There are also additional costs such as a bond premium.

On average, probate cases take 16 months. However, uncomplicated probates with few debts, adult beneficiaries and no fighting between beneficiaries or family members can conclude in as little as 6 months, depending upon the court calendar. Complicated probates can last for years.

In addition to serving as probate counsel for the executor of an estate, we regularly represent individual beneficiaries in probate cases.  Such representation may involve advising beneficiaries of their rights to property under the law or may involve representing them in court in the event of a contested probate case.  

We also serve as counsel to trustees administering trusts after the death of the person who established the trust (the "trustor", "settlor" or "grantor").  This process is known as trust administration.  In other cases, we represent trust beneficiaries and advise them as to their rights under the terms of the trust or represent them in court in the event that a contested issue arises. 

When disputes arise in contested probate and trust cases, we give clients a realistic assessment of how a court, an arbitrator or a mediator will view the issues, and offer creative options to resolve the dispute in a way that works best for the client. If that means taking a case to court, we will assert the rights and defend the interests of our clients effectively.

Please contact us at 831-644-0300 to schedule a complimentary 30 minute consultation or send us an email by .  Weekend and evening appointments are available for established clients.