What causes a person’s estate to go through Probate??

Probate in California happens when the following facts are in alignment:

#1 – a person died

#2 – they were over 18

#3 – they owned assets – house, car, bank accounts, cds, stock, bonds, etc – any one of these or any combination of these

#4 – the assets they did own were in their name

#5 – the GROSS Fair Market Value of those assets was $150,000 or more on the day they died

#6 – they did not have a Revocable Living Trust

IF all of the above are true – then the most likely result will be a Probate of that person’s estate to “settle” their estate & distribute what is left.

There are other court processes in the “probate” vein which may be needed if the actual facts aren’t 100% in sync with the above

IE – IF all the assets rightfully pass to a Surviving Spouse – they may still have to go to court – but they may be able to do a “Spousal Property Petition”

IE – all of the above are true – but they DID have a Revocable Living Trust – then we may need to go to court – BUT we might be able to do a “Heggstad Petition” instead of a full probate.

IE – all of the above are true & one of the assets is real estate BUT the total gross value is under $150,000 – then we need to go to court – BUT – we can do a “Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property”.

The BEST & most EFFECTIVE way to avoid ALL possible court situations – Probate, matters short of Probate, Conservatorship & Guardianship of assets for minors – is to:

#1 – have a Revocable Living Trust based estate plan AND

#2 – put your assets in the name of that trust!!!

If you know of any situation that needs a probate – or one of the other court processes – please pass on my info – We LOVE our Probate cases!!!

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