Going through the probated process is a difficult time for most people. Avoiding common mistakes in the probate process can mean less stress, less money out of your proceeds and less of your time. We have included some of the known common mistakes people make while going through probate to assist you in a smooth process.

Common Mistakes List: (This list is not all inclusive.)

  1.  I Have A Will-Making the mistake of thinking that if you have a “will” you will not have to go through probate.  This may be the case, however; If your estate is in California and it is valued over $150,000 and/or have real estate you will likely have to go through the probate process, which can be very costly. See Probate Code 10810
  2. Filing a petition for probate- Although losing a loved one may very well be the hardest experience you have dealt with, you are required to file a petition for probate within 30 days of death. The executor named in the will to administer the estate has the sole responsibility of filing a petition for probate. If there is a will and an executor is named to administer the estate, they must file the petition for probate with in 30 days of death of decedent. If an executor is not named in the will, someone who desires to be the executor should petition the court for probate.  See section of the Probate Code 8001for opening the estate
  3. Do I need a Family Trust Or Will a “Will” Do? – The Living Trust was designed for families to be able to avoid probate most of the time by putting all of their property in a living trust. Many people are under the illusion that if they have a will they don’t need to go to the trouble of having a living trust. You should do research or contact an attorney to verify if you need a trust or if the “will” will suffice for your estate.
  4. Caring for the Estate- As the executor, you are responsible for caring for the estate while going through the probate process. This means securing the property from break-ins or from past residents with keys. Businesses and rentals must be maintained as well. You also must do an inventory of all the property of the estate. The inventory list is available on the county probate site. Any expense incurred with protecting and preserving the estate property during the probate are considered an expense of the administration and usually comes out of the assets of the estate.