Probate & Trust Administration
Probate and trust administration can be legally complex and time-consuming processes. An individual’s estate plan, the value of their assets, and California law will all be used to handle probate and trust administration. For this reason, it can be exceedingly difficult to navigate these processes.
Beverly Hills Probate Lawyer
At Kushner Legal, we leverage our experience in estate planning and California law to make the probate and trust administration processes faster and easier for all those involved. Probate and trust administration can be overwhelming and legally complex, but it does not have to be.
Kushner Legal is a probate law firm in Beverly Hills that can help answer your questions now. Timing can be critical in probate and trust administration so it is important to call Kushner Legal at 310-279-5166 or submit a contact form to get your questions answered today. We can discuss your matter over the phone, over Zoom, or meet you at our office or a convenient location in the West Los Angeles area.
What Is Probate?
Probate is a legal process that occurs following the death of an individual. The process is initiated by filing a petition through the California Superior Court system, within the county in which the deceased person resided or held assets. The court will then supervise the process of estate distribution.
If the deceased individual did not hold any assets, probate is generally not necessary. If they did hold assets, however, probate is necessary. Some of the tasks that are handled during probate include:
- Prove the validity of the will, if applicable
- Collect and appraise the value of assets
- Determine beneficiaries (i.e., the person or people who inherit the estate)
- Pay outstanding taxes and debts
An individual will be appointed, either through the will or the court, to manage the affairs of the deceased person. This person is referred to as the executor. The executor is responsible for collecting the assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining estate to beneficiaries. These responsibilities are accounted for in California Probate Code Sections 8420-8425.
What Costs Are Involved in Probate?
California Probate Code Section 10810 specifies that probate fees include both the executor’s fee as well as the attorney’s fee. The fees are calculated based on the gross value of the estate and adhere to the following structure:
- 4% of the first $100,000
- 3% of the next $100,000
- 2% of the next $800,000
- 1% of the next $9 million
Anything more than, up to the next $15 million, is subject to a fee of 0.5%. The courts do not include the debts of the estate when making these calculations, which is typically applicable in the case of mortgage. For example, a property valued at $600,000 that has an outstanding mortgage of $300,000 will still be valued at $600,000 for the purposes of probate.
What Is Trust Administration?
Similar to probate, trust administration is the legal procedure used to distribute assets held in a trust after an individual passes away. When a trust is formed, a successor trustee is named. This person will be responsible for managing and distributing the assets held in the trust after the trust grantor passes away. In this way, the trustee’s role is akin to that of the executor.
The trustee must notify all beneficiaries of the trust within 60 days of the individual’s death, pursuant to California Probate Code Section 16061.7 . Following the notification of the beneficiaries, the trustee must follow the instructions of the trust to distribute assets. Moreover, the trustee is responsible for paying taxes when necessary.
Can You Avoid Probate?
Given the costs and time associated with probate, there is incentive to streamline the process or avoid probate proceedings altogether. Probate is only necessary for estates valued at over $166,250. Estates smaller than that can utilize a simplified probate procedure and therefore avoid the time-consuming court probate process.
It should be noted that community property does not need to be probated. This can be jointly owned real estate or other financial assets. In these cases, the assets will pass through the joint tenant process, which is much easier than probate.
Moreover, there are some legal strategies that one can put in place to help avoid probate. Trusts do not need to pass through probate, allowing assets to reach the beneficiaries much faster. Trusts are valuable in this regard, but they must be planned for before an individual passes away. For more information on whether a trust can be utilized for your assets, contact an probate attorney at Kushner Legal.
Trust An Experienced Probate and Trust Administration Lawyer from Kushner Legal
Kushner Legal is a leading Beverly Hills probate attorney with years of experience in estate law. Above all, we prioritize protecting the assets of you and your loved ones. All estates should be handled with care. Reduce the risk of a lengthy probate proceeding and faulty trust administration by consulting with a probate & trust administration attorney at Kushner Legal today at 310-279-5166.