What is Probate?
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Probate is the legal process through which the court makes sure that, after you die, your will is valid, your debts are paid and your assets are distributed according to your will.
Probate is the ONLY legal way to change the title on an asset when the person listed as the owner cannot sign his or her name.
Now, of course, if you’re not alive anymore, you can’t sign your name. And your family and friends can’t just sign FOR you.
Only the court can change titles after someone dies.
Any assets that are titled in your name must go through probate so the titles can be changed.
Probate Attorney San Diego is Big Business
AARP-The American Association of Retired Persons-did a survey of probate fees a few years ago.
AARP found that, nationwide, attorney fees alone could be as much as $1.5 billion a year, and that hundreds of millions more go to bonding companies, appraisers and the probate courts themselves.
Probate attorney costs vary in each state, but they are usually estimated at 3-8% of an estate’s value. If you own property in other states, your family could face multiple probates, each one according to the laws — and costs — in that state.
Probate Takes Time
In that same survey, AARP found that, even for modest estates, it takes one to two years, and often longer, to completely get through the probate process. If you’re lucky, the Probate attorney on your estate may be completed in as few as nine months. But on average, it takes over a year.
Probate San Diego Process Has Control of Your Assets
The bottom line is that the probate process — not your family — has control over how your will is interpreted, how much probate will cost, how long it will take and what information is made public.