Probate courts hear cases involving decedent estates, trusts, conservatorships, powers of attorney, and similar matters. Our firm has appeared in probate court in hundreds of such cases on a wide array of matters.
“Probate” also refers to the court-supervised process that transfers legal title of property from a decedent’s estate to his or her beneficiaries. Absent prior arrangements for “non-probate” transfer of property after death, estates over a certain size must be transferred through probate.
These proceedings include, but are not limited to, steps to: prove that the will is valid; appoint a legal representative with authority to act on behalf of the decedent; identify and inventory the decedent’s property and have it appraised; pay debts and taxes, and distribute the remaining property.
In California, any fees charged by an attorney assisting the personal representative of a decedent’s estate must be approved in advance by the probate court. State law sets the amount of compensation for “ordinary services” by an attorney – based on a fixed part of the estate’s value – and additional compensation for “extraordinary services” may only be charged if allowed by the probate court.
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