Everything You Need to Know About Probate

Estate planning in La Jolla, University City – UTC, and San Diego

By Amy Hsiao

Apr 20

Many people have heard the term “probate,” but not many understand what it means. In short, probate is a legal process during which a judge will determine the validity of a decedent's final wishes as outlined in their will. Probate determines which of the decedent’s friends or family are true legal heirs, as well as what assets those people will receive and when they will receive them.


I always, jokingly, refer to probate as a lawsuit you file against yourself, using your own money, and for the benefit of your accreditors. During probate, your assets will be frozen for a minimum of 12 to 16 months while a judge determines if you owe any debt that must be paid out. If you do, this will be taken care of before anything is paid to your heirs.


There is also the matter of the 5% probate fee that will apply to all of your assets. In the case of a $500,000 home, this means your heirs would have to forfeit $25,000 (on top of waiting a minimum of 12 to 16 months) to secure their rightful inheritance.


Beyond this, the entire probate process is completely public. Not only is probate inconvenient, but it also broadcasts information about all of your assets to anyone and everyone who seeks it out.


So if you have any other questions, would like more information, or are curious about how you can avoid probate, feel free to leave a comment on today’s video, give me a call, or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.