“How can I avoid probate court?,” is a common question in California. Probate is the court process that your assets must go through after you pass away if you die without a trust. What is so terrible about probate court that so many people want to prevent their loved ones from having to go through it?
The main reason is it is a long and costly process for your family. On average, probate can last anywhere, between six months and two years or more, depending on the number of beneficiaries, creditors, and assets held within the estate.
Typically, beneficiaries must wait until the final order of probate until they receive anything from the estates. That delay can be frustrating for the beneficiaries if they rely on that money or could cause unnecessary stress on your loved ones waiting for the financial support that you left for them.
A good estimate of the cost of probate is 5% of your estate. Costs can include attorney’s fees, court filing fees, and other miscellaneous expenses. But drafting estate planning ahead of time will cost a tiny fraction of that amount. So many families are leaving money on the table unnecessarily.
One of my clients has been dealing with the probate court for his mother’s estate for two years described probate court to me as being like “The DMV on Steroids.” Nothing happens when it’s supposed to, they lose your papers, and they cancel hearings at the last minute. That’s not something anyone wants their family to have to go through at a time when they are grieving.
Contact a San Diego probate attorney for more information.