Here’s an Easy Way to Understand the Probate Process in Los Angeles

Probate law in Los Angeles can be difficult to navigate without an attorney who specializes in it. Probate planning can be more bearable to deal with as long as you have the expertise of someone who deals with cases regularly to back you up. Before you scour LA for your next attorney however, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the basics of probate so the entire process won’t seem too overwhelming to deal with.

The FAQs we compiled below tackle probate specific to Los Angeles. Read on to discover how to navigate it with a trained professional by your side:

What is probate?

Probate deals with the assets of an individual who has passed away. With or without a will, these assets will need to be distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries based on California law, or the law of any state the deceased was a resident of.

Probate can be a long and sometimes expensive process, wherein the beneficiaries will have to deal with the court pretty often. The benefit of hiring a probate attorney is that they can relatively speed up the process for you while making sure that all of the deceased’s assets get turned over to the right people.

How much will probate cost me?

The costs incurred by probate will be determined largely by your lawyer. Most lawyers bill by the hour for ordinary work, and any work in their contract described as “extraordinary” will merit a slightly higher fee.

There is a law stating that a probate lawyer may charge a statutory fee. The fee is computed via a certain percentage of every asset that needs to go through probate.

Here is a basic table to follow:

To prepare for probate fees, you can consider asking mortgage lenders or banks for help to cover the immediate costs. Alternatively, your lawyer of choice may have several payment plans in place that can help you cover their costs more easily.

It’s important to speak to a lawyer with the kind of payment flexibility options that won’t leave you panicking over going through probate. Don’t be afraid to communicate with your options and be honest with them regarding how much you can pay.

What is the basic probate process?

  1. File your petition
    – Expect a hearing from California court in the next 30 days.
  2. Notices will need to be handled
    – Notices will go through to potential creditors and everyone in the will. It will also be published three times in the local newspaper.
  3. The will needs to go through proving
    – Each state has its own rules regarding proving how legitimate the will is.
  4. Assets will be collected
    – Some of these assets include bonds, stocks, brokerage accounts, mutual funds, credit union accounts, bank accounts, and other physical assets.
  5. Payment will go to creditors
    – All valid debts must be paid before further payments are made.
  6. Estate tax payments will be settled
    – This includes federal state taxes and state taxes.
  7. The estate is now concluded
    – The final step would be to close out the estate.

What situations don’t require probate?

Probate isn’t always necessary, and only some situations will determine its need.

For example, a joint tenancy won’t constitute probate if the other joint tenant is still living and can assume proper ownership of the estate. If the individual’s assets only accumulate to just $166,250, beneficiaries will only need to claim the assets via a sworn affidavit. Living trusts also don’t need to go through probate.


Probate can be difficult to navigate without the appropriate probate attorney in Los Angeles. This is where contacting a firm like The Law Office of R. Grace Rodriguez can come in.

Check if the firm specializes in probate planning before proceeding with them. In our case, we specialize in bankruptcy, real estate, and probate and estate planning. To book a consultation with us, simply click the telephone number on the upper right portion of our website to get started today.

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