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This webpage is for individuals who need to start a probate petition. To get started select the county in the map below in which the decedent resided at the time of their death. 

If you are unsure whether probate is required read our FAQ or Schedule a Free Consultation.

                                                        Bay Area Probate and Will Service Areas


Is a probate proceeding necessary in California? 

If the total value of the decedent's assets is greater than $166,250 or includes real estate with a value of over $55,425 probate will likely be required as it is not considered a Small Estate. To determine the value of an estate any asset that transfers on death, such as a beneficiary account or real estate held in a joint tenancy or a transfer on death deed, and life insurance can generally be excluded - though other procedures are often required to transfer such assets. 

Who can start the probate process? 

If there is a Last Will & Testament the executor that is named is often, but not always, the best person to start the process. In certain cases that person may not be fit to serve and if so it can be advantageous to start the process independently.

If there is no Last Will & Testament then any relative or beneficiary can start the process and may be named the executor (also referred to as the personal representative of the estate).

The executor is compensated by the estate pursuant to Probate Code 10800.

Is a Last Will & Testament required for the probate process? 


If a person dies without a will it is referred to as being intestate and Probate Code 6400-6414 controls who will inherit. If you are unsure whether you would be a beneficiary you can Request A Free Consultation. 

How much does your firm charge? 

When representing the executor we charge the fees provided for in Probate Code 10810-10814 which are paid out of the estate funds and not a single persons portion of the estate even if they also serve as executor. For other work, including probate contests and litigation we charge by the hour. You can review our Probate Questionnaire and Engagement Letter here or schedule a free consultation. 

How long does the process take? 

Usually between 9 and 18 months. 

It depends on the size and complexity of the property in the estate and whether there are any disputes. There are certain notice periods but the longest lead time items are involved in preparing the Probate Accounting and selling any assets. If speedy distribution is your goal you can request it in our Probate Questionnaire and Engagement Letter and we can provide an estimate of the increased costs and estimated time savings. 


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