When a person dies, his or her heirs cannot just go to the bank or recorder’s office to prove their right to inherit.  A family member or friend will need to file a petition in court for probate.   

What is probate?

Probate is the court process for administering a person’s estate after their death.  If a person dies with only a will or without any kind of estate planning, a probate will be necessary to transfer assets to the beneficiaries.  Someone, usually a child of the decedent, has to file a petition for probate asking to be appointed as the personal representative to administer the estate.  The personal representative will need to gather all of the decedent’s assets, notify potential creditors, and report the value of each asset as of the date of death to the court.  The court-appointed personal representative is prohibited from distributing assets to the beneficiaries without first obtaining a court order. 

How long does probate take?

Probate typically takes 6-12 months or longer if there are issues with title or challenges from family members.

How much does probate cost?

The court filing fees are generally around $1,000.00.  Additionally, the personal representative and attorneys are entitled to compensation.  The compensation is a percentage of the value of the estate using a formula outlined in the probate code.

Contact our probate attorney

Our attorney, Amy R. Henderson, has extensive experience with probate, having spent ten years as a judicial research attorney for the Santa Cruz County Superior Court.  Amy reviewed the paperwork filed in all probate matters, researched the issues and law, made recommendations to the judges about how the judges should rule, and attended all probate hearings.

We are experienced probate attorneys who understand the legal requirements of this complex legal proceeding.  We provide experienced and effective guidance, advice, and representation to personal representatives throughout the probate proceeding.  Contact the Law Office of Emily J. Buchbinder at (831) 462-1313 or fill out our confidential contact form to speak to our experienced probate attorneys and learn more about probate. 

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