WHAT IS PROBATE?
Probate is the process the court uses to supervise the transfer of assets from a person who has died to the new lawful owners. But first, the court must ensure that all of the decedent’s debts and taxes are paid.
Probate can be relatively fast and inexpensive in a few cases, where the decedent’s assets are under $100,000, there is no real property in the estate, and there is no claim by Medi-Cal, and where a surviving spouse inherits all assets and there are no child beneficiaries. These uncomplicated probates with few debts, adult beneficiaries and no fighting can conclude in as little as 6 months, depending upon the court calendar.
But in most other cases, probate is a lengthy process and involves attorney and filing fees. On average, probates take 16 months.