Contact Info

Law Office of Victor Waid
333 University  Avenue,

Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95825

Phone:  916-923-2345

Email - vwaid@waidlaw.com


Free Legal Answers

PROBATE

What is Probate?

Probate is a court legal process, that is used when you die.  Your debts are paid and your assets are distributed according to your Will. If you don't have a valid Will, your assets are distributed according to state law.

What's so bad about probate?

  • It can be expensive.
  • It can take a lot of time.
  • Your family has no privacy.
  • Your family has no control.

Remember a Will only goes into effect when you die.

Does a durable power of attorney prevent this? No.

Durable power of attorney lets you name someone to manage your financial affairs if you are unable to do so; durable power of attorney dies when you die.

Many financial institutions will not honor your durable power attorney unless it is on their bank form.

If durable power of attorney is accepted, it may give someone a "blank check" to do whatever he/she wants with your assets.

Durable power is very effective when used with a living trust, but risky when used alone.

Under California law, probate of an estate is generally necessary, when an individual passes away leaving assets in excess of $150,000 that do not pass via beneficiary designation, joint tenancy, or if such assets were not held in trust.

For example, under the following circumstances, a probate would not be necessary:

  • Decedent left an insurance policy with a death benefit over $150,000 (or less for that matter) payable to a living individual
  • Decedent had bank and brokerage accounts held jointly with another living individual (in such case, those accounts would pass automatically to the joint account holder).
  • Decedent owned an IRA (or other retirement related account) with a value in excess of $150,000 (or less) which named a living individual as the beneficiary.
  • Decedent owned real property held either in joint tenancy or as community property in which the other owner(s) were living.
A probate of an estate, however, would most likely be necessary under the following events: 
  • Decedent died with a bank or brokerage account held solely in their name with a value in excess of $150,000.
  • Decedent owned real property held solely in their name.
  • Decedent owned a life insurance policy with a death benefit over $150,000 in which no beneficiary was named or where the named beneficiary predeceased the decedent.
  • Decedent owned an IRA (or other retirement related account) with a value in excess of $150,000 in which no beneficiary was named or where the named beneficiary predeceased the decedent.

Please call (916) 923-2345 for appointment.

 
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