What is Probate?
"Probate" is a Court proceeding in which a decedent's estate is administered if he or she dies either with or without a Will, but without a fully funded revocable living trust.
This proceeding has to be conducted in accordance with procedures specified in the California Probate Code and the Rules of the Court. If the decedent died with a Will, the Court will resolve any dispute concerning the validity and meaning of the Will.
The Court will also decide any disputes which arise concerning the debts owed by the decedent, including taxes. Consequently, the administrator of the estate or executor of the Will must give a specified period of notice to all known creditors, and any disputes about the debt have to be resolved.
Upon the conclusion of all disputes and the filing of an accounting by the administrator or executor, the Court will authorize the distribution of the decedent's beneficiaries or heirs.
Since Probate is a Court proceeding, and since attorneys must usually be employed, a probate proceeding is much more expensive than the administering the estate under the terms of a Revocable Living Trust.
Moreover, probate proceedings usually take significantly more time, and almost everything filed in a probate proceeding is public.
You will usually save ten to twenty times (or more) the cost of a Probate Proceeding by creating a Revocable Living Trust, and the administration of the Trust should be completed in less than a year, without exposure to the general public.
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