Probate is the legal procedure in court to administer the estate of a deceased person, whether the deceased person left a will or died without a will.  We file cases in three California counties:

The process involves notifying heirs, gathering assets, paying bills, and transferring the remaining inheritance to the heirs.  For instance without a court case, the decedent’s property cannot be transferred to the heirs.  We can help you with any of the following procedures:

Let Us Help You: What You Don’t Know, Can Hurt You

In simple terms: probate is not a do-it-yourself project.  That is because the judge will hold you to the same standard as if you were an attorney, and the court is prohibited from giving you any legal advice.  The process is full of pitfalls for the unknown and mistakes will cost you time and money.  From not properly notifying creditors, to not filing the correct tax forms, to failing to clear probate notes, you will need legal representation to properly complete the forms and appear in court.

According to a Judicial Council of California 2004 report on people who file court cases without an attorney, it is people who file a probate case who were more likely to be self-represented at 22% of all probate cases, rather than 16% of general civil cases.  Why is that?  Here are the major reasons why people represent themselves [1]:

  • 45% said they felt that the matter was relatively simple and they could handle it themselves;
  • 31% said they could not afford a lawyer; and
  • 22% said they did not want to pay for a lawyer.

Filing a case on your own can take longer and stress you out.  Trust us, because missing deadlines, failing to file the correct paperwork, and not knowing what to do will set you back.  You won’t know how to complete the paperwork or what to say to the judge.  In probate cases, the average hearing for attorney-represented lasted 3.4 minutes.  Whereas the average hearing for self-represented petitioners lasted 17.2 minutes. [2]

Hire A Trusted And Experienced Attorney

The following chart [3] shows the main reasons that people hired an attorney (note that some respondents listed more than one reason):

  • 64% said they wanted an expert to represent their interests;
  • 39% said they thought their case was complex;
  • 19% said they were unfamiliar with the law; and
  • 12% said they did not think they were capable of handling their own case.

You’ll become overwhelmed with the probate process and you may require assistance from an attorney.  You will find that representing yourself takes longer and costs more than if you had hired a probate attorney in the first place.  Our past clients have stated that when they hired us, they instantly felt relieved to have a friendly and knowledgeable probate law firm to take over the probate case.

We make the process easy for you by completing the paperwork, dealing with the court, and guiding you step-by-step how to fulfill your duties as the administrator or executor of the estate.  By hiring us to represent you in your case, we will review and revise the paperwork and all the documents required to administer the estate, send out the proper notifications and publication, and appear for you in court.

Legal Fees Are Affordable

You won’t pay for attorney’s fees up front.  That’s because it’s the estate of the decedent that pays for the attorney fees and costs out of the money in the estate.  You are not personally liable for the attorney fees and costs.  The total costs and fees for a probate  case will depend on the type of probate proceeding and what work needs to be done.

Call Us Now At (909) 328-7000 For  A Free Consultation

[1] Reasons for Self-Representation from “Statewide Action Plan for Serving Self-Represented Litigants” (2004) Judicial Council of California.

[2] “Self Represented Litigations and Court and Legal Services Responses to Their Needs, What We Know” by John M. Greacen.

[3] “Statewide Action Plan for Serving Self-Represented Litigants” (2004) Judicial Council of California.

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