For many Californians, an essential goal of their estate planning is avoiding probate. However, unless someone spends much of their time examining estate law issues, they might not know why so many people wish to avoid the probate process. Today, we aim to demystify probate by discussing the primary reasons a person might want to keep their estate out of the process.

Increased costs

Many people wish to avoid probate to reduce expenses in distributing their estate. When an estate goes through probate, both the executor appointed to oversee the process and the attorney for the estate have fees. Generally, those fees come out of the deceased’s estate in the following structure:

  • 4% of the first $100,000
  • 3% of the second $100,000
  • 2% of the next $800,000
  • 1% of the next $9 million
  • .5% of the next $15 million

Not only is this fee structure complicated, but it means costs add up fast for high-value estates. Creating an estate plan that keeps your assets out of probate can help to avoid these costs.

Entering the public domain

Since probate is a court-administered process, records relating to an estate in probate become public record. Detailed records about someone’s finances, property, and even family are available for anyone to see – if they know where to look. For those who prioritize keeping their affairs private, avoiding probate is especially important.

Extensive time in court

Every step of the probate process requires court approval, which means the process can often drag on for several months, or even years. Spending this much time in and out of probate court can take a toll on families, especially when they have already suffered a loss.

An attorney experienced in estate planning can help those concerned about probate meet their financial goals and create strategies to maintain control over their estate.