Probate and
Conservatorship

Probate

Probate and Conservatorship
When someone dies without a Living Trust that identifies how his/her estate is to be distributed, the estate goes into Probate. Probate is a court-supervised process that begins with naming an Executor to manage the process. The Executor:

  • Manages the deceased person’s estate; depending on its complexity, this will take at least several months to a year or longer.
  • Identifies the extent of debt and pays creditors.
  • Manages assets, including determining whether or not to sell assets, which may include real estate, securities, or other property. If there are outstanding debts, but most of the estate is tied up in real estate, high-value artwork or other collections, they likely will have to be appraised and sold to produce cash to pay creditors.
  • Once all debts have been satisfied and the Estate is in a condition to be closed, a petition is prepared and filed to distribute the estate among the deceased person’s heirs.

A note: Probate could have been easily avoided if the deceased had created a Living Trust

Probate rarely benefits your beneficiaries, and it always costs them money and time. It can be a difficult burden at a time when they are already dealing with loss and grief. Probate also means that your estate becomes a matter of public record. Probate can be easily avoided by creating—and updating–a Living Trust that outlines precisely how your estate will be distributed among your loved ones.

One flat fee

California Document Preparers charges one easy flat fee for Probate: $5,000. This includes copies, notary, mailings, and other incidental costs. Our fee does not include filling fees charged by courts and other agencies such as newspapers. We will give you a precise estimate of all the expected fees and costs.

Our intent is to help you through every step of the Probate process so that, at the end, you can emerge and say, “Well, that wasn’t so bad after all.”

Conservatorships

In a Conservatorship, a judge appoints a responsible person (Conservator) to care for another adult (Conservatee) who cannot care for him/herself or manage his/her own finances. A Conservatorship is often appropriate for someone who is incapacitated, frail, ill or developmentally disabled. Like Probate, Conservatorships are court-appointed; the Conservator is responsible to the court and assumes clearly defined jobs and responsibilities.

There are two kinds of conservatorships:

  1. General Conservatorship is needed when a person who was once able to care for himself or herself can no longer do so because of a serious injury, Alzheimer’s Disease, or other serious medical or psychological problem that renders the person unable to care for himself or herself.
  2. Limited Conservatorships. Limited conservatorships are for those situations in which the Conservatee is developmentally disabled. The developmentally disabled can usually do many things on their own, so at the court hearing, the judge gives the Limited Conservator power to do those things the Conservatee cannot do without help, including managing finances, signing contracts, making decisions about education, and training, and marriage

There are two categories of authority one must consider when applying for Conservatorship:

Conservatorship of the person:The responsibilities of a Conservator of the Person are to oversee quality-of-life issues, arranging for the Conservatee’s daily care, safety and protection. This includes making arrangements for healthcare, food, clothing, transportation, housing and recreation.

Conservatorship of the Estate. The Conservatee’s money and property are the Estate. A Conservatorship of the Estate manages the Conservatee’s finances and protects income and property, pays bills and taxes, invests capital and prepares detailed financial records for the court and other agreed-upon parties.

If your Probate is uncontested, you don’t need an attorney, and this is a growing service for us.

Contact us today to find out how we help our clients through every step of the Probate process.