When someone dies without a Living Trust that identifies how his/her estate is to be distributed, the estate goes into Probate. It’s a court-supervised process that begins with naming an Administrator to manage the process. While Probate can sound daunting, it is actually a very methodical process. California Document Preparers assists the Administrator through each step of the Probate process.

Administrator gains access to decedent’s records to understand financial landscape

The Administrator:

  • Manages the deceased person’s estate; depending on its complexity, this will take at least several months. If the estate is complex, it can take several years.
  • Assesses the value of the estate, identifying the extent of debt and paying creditors.
  • Oversees allocation of 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 generate cash to pay creditors.

When all debts have been satisfied and the estate is in a condition to be closed, a petition is prepared and filed with the court to distribute the estate among the deceased person’s heirs.

Once the court has approved the Probate, the Administrator will be able to gain access to all of the decedent’s records to fully understand the financial landscape, including bank statements, savings accounts and income tax returns.

As part of the court-mandated process, Administrators are required to keep careful records of all transactions and valuations. During Probate, the deceased’s estate becomes a separate tax entity, so the Administrator must obtain a federal identification number and open a bank account in the name of the estate, from which to pay creditors. It is also necessary to file the estate’s tax return and a final individual tax return.

California Document Preparers announces one-flat-fee Probate

There is sometimes a misunderstanding that Probate requires the services of an attorney, but if your Probate is uncontested—if no one in your family is challenging the normal process of valuing assets, identifying debts and settling the estate accordingly–then we can assist you and save a significant amount of money. While attorneys price Probate by their hourly fees or a percentage of the estate’s value, we have created a simple new pricing plan–one flat fee: $4,500. No surprises, no hidden costs for administrative fees or other add-ons.

California Document Preparers Probate infographicAvoid Probate by creating a Living Trust

Probate rarely benefits beneficiaries; it can be expensive and time-consuming, a difficult burden at a time when families are already dealing with loss and grief. Those who value their privacy should also be aware that Probate means an estate becomes a matter of public record. We encourage everyone to create a Living Trust, identifying precisely how your assets will be distributed among your loved ones. A Living Trust is an important part of life planning and is one of the most thoughtful things you can do for your family.

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.