ARE DISCOUNT PROBATE ATTORNEYS A GOOD IDEA? What about “DIY”— Doing It Yourself?

It seems there are few places on the earth where you can’t get a better deal. Whether it’s shoes or hats, pedicures or hair-dos, you can usually find a lower price. But when it comes to a probate attorney, should you consider going with the lowest-priced person? Or are there parts of probate you can do yourself? Should you? Let’s start at the beginning and then give you some thoughts as you approach a probate event in your family.

What is Probate?

Probate is the judicial process in which an instrument claiming to be the will of a deceased individual is proven to be authentic or not; lawful distribution of the decedent’s estate. It is the legal process of administering an estate. Its definition includes the judicially-supervised process for assembling a decedent’s assets, paying appropriate debts, and distributing the remaining parts of the estate to the persons or entities entitled to them.

If your family has left any property to you, keep reading to understand some of the things that probate attorneys do, how much they should be paid, and when you might be able to save some money.

What Does a Probate Attorney Do?

A probate attorney handles much of the interface with the probate court. For information on the process and how valuable probate attorneys are, please see our Probate Process page. If you would like to know more about some of the terms and steps involved in a probate sale, our blog is an excellent resource.

What are the Rules in California for Probate Attorneys’ Fees?

This website from the State of California gives the current figures. The fees start at four percent (4%) on the first one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) valuation of the estate. That would be $4,000. As the estate’s value goes up, the percentage goes down.

Reasons to pay.

  • You see the value of hiring professionals who specialize.
  • You’re out of state.
  • You’re not a probate attorney.

NOTE: The state laws are set up to protect people involved in the probate process. Having a good, experienced probate lawyer can save you time, money, and aggravation if things start to fall through the slats.

Reasons to “skimp.”

  • You are trying to save on the probate fees due to an attorney.

NOTE: Many “pro per” petitioners end up hiring an attorney part way through the probate process because its not easy.

Should you try DIY (Do it yourself)?

If your loving family members find themselves fighting over the estate, you might need an attorney to keep people in separate corners of the ring, so to speak. If everyone gets along and agrees, probate is a convoluted process. In California, probate forms are available in the probate section of the California Judicial Council website so you can get an idea of what you might be up against.

Executors in probate transactions have a lot of duties on their own and this is where probate attorneys can show even more value. In sum, we are big advocates for engaging in probate attorney vs. trying to go “pro per” and handle a probate on your own.

As long time probate real estate agents and as attorneys working in and around all kinds of properties in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, we in the CREM Group have made sure we support our clients, so they know the alternatives to buying, selling, or renting probate, trust, and conservatorship homes and commercial properties in California. – – – – –

As always, contact us by email here if you have any questions about real estate, probate real estate, conservatorship, or trust real estate properties, especially in Los Angeles and Orange Counties in California.

Mark Cianciulli, Esq. mark@cremgroupre.com Daniel Taylor, Esq. daniel@cremgroupre.com

DISCLAIMER: This content is meant purely for educational purposes. It contains only general information about real estate matters. It is NOT legal advice and should not be treated as such. We recommend consulting a legal or tax professional before acting on any material, opinion, or perspective described herein. * * *

COVID-19 Safety. As all of us at the CREM Group market and sell our inventory of probate, trust, and conservatorship homes for our clients, we adhere to the COVID-19 regulations set by the California Association of Realtors.

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