Three young people, Bruce, Becky, and Bryce came in to our Walnut Creek office for assistance with a Probate. Their father, just 52, had died unexpectedly of a heart attack in November. They’d all been close to their father, who had single-handedly raised them after their mother died. He had always been healthy and active, so his death had stunned them. He didn’t have a Will or Living Trust, so they were now faced with what they knew was going to be the long, confusing Probate of their father’s estate.
Their father was a 50% owner of three homes—one in Concord, one in Tahoe, and one in San Francisco. The home in Concord was 50% owned by their grandmother. That 50% ownership required its own Probate, and the 50% would be divided equally between their deceased father and his brother, their uncle.
We opened the grandmother’s Probate case first; valued at $600,000, their father’s half was worth $300,000. The three young people and their uncle had a good relationship, so the uncle agreed to be the administrator of this estate. Within ten days, we had prepared and filed the legal documents and scheduled the court hearing. We also placed newspaper notifications for both estates, a necessary part of every Probate. (Another very good reason for creating a Living Trust is that the estate remains a private affair; a Probate becomes public knowledge.)
Their father’s estate included $300,000 from the Concord home, $400,000 from the Tahoe home and $500,000 from the house in San Francisco—a total of $1,200,000. Bruce, the oldest of the siblings and an engineer, was elected to be the administrator of their father’s estate.
A Living Trust means that your children will not have to go through Probate, and the details of your estate can remain private, rather than being published in the local newspaper.