ZAHBIHI & WATKINS

Law Firm, APC

(916) 970-1605

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916-970-1605

probate

WHAT IS PROBATE?  Probate is the court process of transferring assets from someone who has passed away to their heirs.  Estates with values over $150,000 must be processed through court monitored procedures, which typically take 8-9 months.  Estates with values under $150,000 qualify for a much shorter summary probate process.
HOW LONG DOES PROBATE TAKE?  Probate is generally categorized into three phases:  1. Opening and appointment phase; 2. Creditor claim and inventory period; and 3. Estate administration and disbursement (closing).  The first phase takes approximately 6 weeks (based upon how quickly a hearing can be obtained on the court's calendar).  The second phase, the "creditor claim" period is a minimum of 4 months.  The third phase is based upon the status of the estate, but typically takes a minimum of 2-3 months.
WHAT ARE PROBATE COSTS?  Attorney fees are statutory and usually are about 2.5%-4% of the total value of the estate.  Costs of filing and other administrative fees are typically between $1,000 and $2,000.
CONTACT FOR A FREE 30-MIN CONSULTATION:  Contact our firm to discuss the particulars of your loved one's estate, and how our firm may represent you in proceeding through the probate process.  Depending on the situation, we may be able to represent you for less than the statutory fees and costs.

Process:

1. Probate Open:  Executor is appointed by court order.  Typically requires one hearing.  (4-6 weeks depending on the Court's calendar).

2. Creditor Claim/Inventory:  Creditors are notified of the probate and have 4-months to submit claims to the estate.  During this period, the executor inventories the estate's assets and obtains a valuation from the probate referee.  This inventory and appraisal notifies all interested parties what assets are to be sold, distributed, and what claims are likely to be paid (whether the estate has enough assets to pay administrative fees and creditors of the probate and allow for distributions to heirs).

3. Administration/Discharge:  Once the 4-month Creditor Claim period is over, the executor should have enough information to know whether the estate has enough assets to pay administrative fees, pay the creditors and distribute the remaining.  (2-3 months or more depending on the complexity of the estate and assets involved).

Experience:

It is important to retain legal representation that is experienced and knows what steps to take.  Each estate is different and requires different procedures to ensure the process is done properly and smoothly.

Whether someone is dependent on the estate's income for living expenses, or estate property is facing foreclosure, our attorneys are knowledgeable and experienced in taking the proper steps to protect the estate and ensure that the value of the estate's assets can properly be protected and used.

Estate Taxes:

What do you do if the estate owes taxes?  Our attorneys have experience with estates that create income and require estate income taxes as well as those which (should) file Estate Tax returns to preserve portability of the estate tax exemption.  Special steps need to be taken related to taxes in order to best benefit the heirs and distributees of the estate assets.

Accessibility:

Our boutique firm prides itself on being accessible to clients.  There is nothing worse than not being able to get in contact with your attorney - the process is stressful enough.

Our firm's attorney policy is to return client contact within 24 hours.  Whether you have a short question, or require more attention to discuss a particular matter, our attorneys are dedicated to your representation and ensuring that it proceeds as smoothly as possible.

HAVE YOU STARTED A PROBATE AND NEED HELP?  Many people are able to start a probate and for many different reasons are unable to take the necessary steps to complete the process.  If you have begun the process and would like to discuss how our firm can assist you through the remaining process and what the fees may be.  Depending on the steps properly taken, our fees could be reduced, saving you time and money.

CONTACT US TODAY: 916-970-1605