Probate is the legal process that recognizes a will, accounts for assets and appoints a representative to distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries.
Generally, in California, if the gross assets of the decedent exceed $166,250, those assets will be subject to probate.
Probate is a court process to ensure that final debts are paid and the remaining property distributed per the terms of the decedent’s will (testate), or under the terms of the Probate Code if there is no will (intestate).
Probate is a long process (from 6 months to 2 years on average), information is open to public scrutiny, and it can be expensive (fees are set by statute and on average range from 4% to 10% of the gross estate value, plus costs).
Spousal Property Petitions, Small Estate Affidavits and related are occasionally required in order to transfer property outside of probate.