How do I know if an estate goes to probate court?

When a loved one dies, hopefully, that person had taken the time to come up with an estate plan. If they did, that’s great, but the family may still not be sure what to do because estate administration can become a legal process, which can add stress to the family during this difficult time. One question that frequently arises is whether the case may end up in Probate Court. Probate Court may handle situations of property transfers to beneficiaries, determining whether a will is actually valid, and completing the outstanding financial obligations of the person who has passed away.

Please keep in mind that not all situations require a family to go to Probate Court. If the deceased individual left $150,000 or less, the family may not have to go to Probate Court because, in the state of California, there are simplified processes available for handling the estate. In order to determine the value of the estate, add the value of all real and personal property, as well as life insurance and retirement benefits that will be paid to the estate. You should not include cars, boats, mobile homes, property outside of the state, property directly given to a surviving spouse, and the person’s outstanding debts, among others.

However, if the value of the person’s estate is worth more than $150,000 you are required to go through Probate Court. You will have to file a Petition for Probate in order to start a court case. Either way, you should consult with an experienced wills, trusts, and estates attorney who can provide you with assistance.

If you need the dedicated legal representation for wills, trusts, and estate matters in California, contact the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation.