when a beneficiary or heir will receive the assets and how much they will receive. The California court system allows public access to court files, unless the court file is deemed private. Unfortunately, most probate cases are deemed public and as such, anyone can view the probate file. Do you think this information is valuable to a potential con-person? Absolutely! I always say that if people allow their loved ones to go through the probate process, it is like putting a red bullseye of the back of their loved ones for a conperson to take advantage.
It is Costly. In California, the fees are set by statute. There are
costs such as filing fees, which for a simple probate the filing fees are about $870. There are fees for the required publication—which can run upwards of $595. Then there are miscellaneous fees such as for the appraiser and to obtain Letters of Administration—these additional miscellaneous fees equate about 1% of the total estate value. Also, the PR and the Attorney, if one is hired, are entitled to the same amount of fees. They each get: 4% of the first $100,000; 3% of the next $100,000; 2% of the next $800,000, and 1% for the amount up to $9 million. It is estimated that the average cost of Administration is between 5% - 8% of the gross value of the estate. So, to probate an estate worth $250,000, the cost of administration is approximately $17,850. That’s a hefty amount of change that the deceased person’s estate will have to pay so their loved ones will receive their inheritance.
What Can You Do to Avoid Probate? Use a Trust, which will
allows the deceased person’s assets to be distributed to their loved ones without the need to go to court. A Trust saves time, as the distributions are according to your specific instructions. A Trust it is not a public document, so it protects your loved ones from potential con-persons. And it saves money over the long-term, as there aren’t any court costs involved and you set the fee for Trustee compensation. A Trust works because it allows you to maintain control over the assets you have worked hard to accumulate over the long-term, not just during your lifetime. In most cases, a Trust is the best tool to use to distribute assets after death. Theresa Carter Geoffroy www.geoffroylaw.com (916) 572-1998 9401 East Stockton Blvd., Suite 140, Elk Grove, CA. ardentforlife.net 25