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Why should you avoid probate?

  • By: Lorilee Desantis
  • Published: August 21, 2020

There are many significant disadvantages to the probate process, such as:

  • Excessive paperwork – probate involves the court system which means there can be extensive paperwork and accountings which must be filed with the court
  • Time – probate can take a long time, anywhere from several months to years
  • Lack of privacy – probate is a matter of public record, so anyone can see what the deceased person’s assets and debts are, and know who the beneficiaries are
  • Expense – probate can be very expensive (see the chart below):

Statutory Probate Fees

The California Probate Code provides that the fees listed below be paid to the deceased person’s personal representative (aka “executor” or “administrator”) and the attorney for the personal representative.


The size of the estate is based on the fair market value of the estate assets without any deduction for debts or mortgages. For example, if the deceased person’s house is worth $400,000 and there is a mortgage of $375,000, then there is $25,000 of equity in the property. However, the amount subject to probate is $400,000 (the fair market value), not merely $25,000 (the equity).

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