Probate is Possible – and Cost-Effective – Without a Lawyer

Written by admin

May 31, 2022

The recent passing of your loved one has no doubt left you with many unpleasant emotions and difficult decisions. If you’re responsible for estate administration, you could be headed down a long road. The effort that so many people put into avoiding probate is indicative of how complex it can be, but with help from The Document People, you can navigate this process with confidence. 

The Financial Cost of Probate

California probate law establishes a fee system for lawyers who work on estate administration cases. For the first $100,000 of an estate’s value, attorney’s fees are 4%, which is $4,000 taken from the assets before the process even gets started. From there, the fee percentages change as the value of the estate increases. For example, if your loved one had a $1,000,000 estate, a probate attorney can claim over $20,000 for their fees. 

The good news is that an attorney is not required during this process, and cheap probate is an option. At The Document People, our expertise in estate administration and probate law means that we can help our clients can successfully complete probate without a lawyer. 

The First Step

There isn’t much that can happen to settle an estate without a personal representative being chosen. In many situations, the person who has passed, known as the decedent, will have named an executor in their will. If there is no will, or no one was named as the representative in the will, the probate court can appoint someone for formal probate proceedings. 

California Probate Code lists the order of preference for the courts to choose an executor, and the top priority is given to:

  • Surviving spouse or domestic partner
  • Children
  • Grandchildren

This is the first step because this person will be responsible for almost every aspect of settling their loved one’s affairs. If you’ve been designated as the personal representative of an estate, you may already have an understanding of the many things that lie ahead. It can be a daunting task. That’s why we dedicate our services to those who want probate done correctly but don’t want the value of the estate diminished by attorney’s fees. 

Settling the Estate

After a representative is chosen, there will likely be many steps along the way to complete the administration process. To sum it up, however, you can expect to inventory all property and belongings, identify heirs and beneficiaries, pay off any necessary debts or bills, and distribute assets appropriately. This can be deceptively difficult without assistance from a knowledgeable advisor, and The Document People can fulfill this role for you while also saving you money.

If you’re still undecided about whether or not cheap probate without an attorney is feasible for you, reach out to us today at 760-754-9059 to schedule a free consultation.

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1 Everything You Need to Know About Probate. U.S. News. https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/family-finance/articles/everything-you-need-to-know-about-probates 

2 Div. 7, Part 2, Ch. 4, Article 4. California Probate Code. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PROB&sectionNum=8461 

3 Wills, Estates, and Probate. California Courts. https://www.courts.ca.gov/8865.htm 

 

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