Probate Court Attorney

Edith J White Probate and Wills attorneySan Diego Probate Court is a part of the court system in California.  It deals with many issues.  One of the main issues it deals with is what happens to a person’s assets after they die.  To the extent a person looks at the probate file in a particular case or attends a hearing, San Diego Probate Court is a public forum.  What happens to the assets depends on whether there is a valid will or not.  If a will exists the executor of a will, in order to probate a will,  must file a probate with the court.

The court normally appoints the executor of a will that has been named to handle the noticing of persons entitled to notice, gathering of  assets, the protection and management of those assets, the valuation of those assets, the payment of  debts and taxes, the distribution of remaining assets to the beneficiaries  named in the will, the keeping of very accurate records and the accounting to the court.  If you are an executor of a will, the costs of probate are paid by the estate, not by  you as an individual.

The cost to probate a will depends on the gross value of the estate and the types of assets contained  in the estate.  There are statutorily set executor and attorneys fees and additional fees if there are extraordinary tasks to be performed.  There are costs, depending on several factors.  The filing fees paid to the court to file the probate are available on the following web page: sdcourt.ca.gov.  You need to look under the Probate section for filing fees.  There will be a publication fee, and the probate referee fees, if one is needed to appraise non liquid assets, and other miscellaneous fees of a somewhat minimal nature.

If you do not have a will, a probate may still be opened, and an administrator appointed.  (The administrator does the same things as an executor as above noted, and the cost of this type of probate is the same cost to probate a will.)  Your assets are eventually distributed according to California laws of succession.  Those laws depend on who survives you.  These issues are discussed at the initial conference.

Either probate process, with or without a will, normally takes a minimum of 11-13 months. Most people want to avoid probate if possible.  To avoid probate planning must be done while you are living, mentally competent, and able to sign either your name or a mark.

There are several ways to avoid probate. Each way depends on your particular circumstance and your desires.

  • Probate a Will
  • Probate without Wills
  • Spousal Property Petitions
  • Heggstad Motions
  • Administration of Small Estates

Edith is available for hospital and home bound visits.

Contact Edith or phone her office at (619) 297-7441.