What Is Your Experience In Handling Probate Matters?
Attorney Cloyd Havens has been representing both small and large estates in probate matters for Over 35 years in the most counties in Southern California. Most cases are fairly standard probates. However, there have been some that have been very challenging and complex.
Who Do You Generally Represent In These Cases?
HAVENS MALCZYNSKI GRIGOLLA, LLP generally represent the administrator, also known as an executor, in probate cases.
How Do You Assist Your Clients In Going Through The Probate Process?
Attorney Cloyd Havens provides his clients with direction as to what the court will need at each phase of the probate process. In order to make the process as short and painless as possible, he ensures everything that will be needed is in order before it is time for the information and documents to be submitted.
What Actually Is Probate?
Probate is the process in which the court oversees the distribution of a decedent’s estate. It has two main purposes: the first is to protect the creditors of the estate. A creditor anyone to whom the decedent owed money; and the second is to be sure that the remaining assets are distributed appropriately among the beneficiaries.
Are There Different Types Of Probate?
There are several different types of probate, essentially, based on the assets. Generally, the vast majority of estates go through a typical standard probate. However, if the estate has assets that are of a smaller value, the process can be shortened. For example, that might include real estate under $100,000 in gross value or personal property assets such as bank accounts or stocks or assets of that nature which are under $150,000.
What Are Some Other Options Besides A Full Probate?
Once someone is deceased and if there are assets over $150,000, there really are no other options to probate. The only opportunity to avoid probate is to create an estate plan while the person is still living through something like a trust.
What Factors Set The Stage For A Probate To Occur?
The stage for probate is set when someone passes away who owns property that is subject to the $150,000 limit. If the individual did not make other arrangements with a trust or beneficiary designations for cash assets, the assets will inevitably go through probate.
What Are The Top Misconceptions About Probate?
One of the biggest misconceptions people have regarding probate is the cost. Probate is expensive but not nearly as costly as one would think. While conducting seminars, Attorney Cloyd Havens often will ask attendees how much they think probate costs as a percentage of an estate. It is not uncommon for people to assume it costs 50% or more, which simply isn’t accurate. Generally the cost is somewhere in the neighborhood of under 10% of the estate.
Additionally, a number of people believe that once the court has given the executor authority to transact business for the estate, the executor is no longer required to report to the court or get permission to do certain activities such as sell real estate. That too, is a fallacy.
Is There A Negative Stigma Associated With Probate?
There are two reasons probate is commonly associated with a negative stigma. The most common reason has nothing to do with the probate process itself but rather it involves the beneficiaries who are arguing and disputing among themselves. This happens within the context of probate and therefore, associates the process with negative experiences. However, the fact is the same squabbles may have occurred even if the estate was not going through the court.
The second reason people don’t like the idea of probate is again, a factor that cannot be controlled. A number of people try to handle matters on their own. Probate is a complicated process for which there is no good handbook or guide to assist someone through simply because it’s so different from one court to another. If someone attempts to handle the matter themselves, they can get easily get bogged down having issues of filing the correct paperwork at the correct time, knowing where to file and the bureaucratic details can be overwhelming and can cause a probate to extend for several years.
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