Probate / Conservatorships

Craig J. Bauman Attorney at Law – California
email cjb@californialawpractice.com or call (858) 488-1497

If you have reviewed the section on Estate Planning and/or read some applicable sections of the Frequently Asked Questinos, you know that Probate and Conservatorships are not necessary if you have a Trust. If, however, a relative has failed to set up a Trust prior to the onset of serious mental and/or physical issues, there is, unfortunately, no alternative for establishing a Conservatorship, in order to care for that person. Similarly, if a relative or friend dies without having established a Trust before hand, neither is there any alternative for processing their estate through Probate, if the estate is $100,000.00 or more in total value, or includes any real property.

Because I spend most of my time “saving” people from Probate and Conservatorships, I am very good at easing my clients through either process, as quickly and as easily as possible. I am able to break down the required steps into their simplest terms and I have always managed to complete all Probates in less than the average time, usually by several months. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance in this area.

Fees are based upon statutory fees set by the State for Probates and are charged at $240.00 per hour for Conservatorships.

Conservatorships: The typical conservatorship is established when a person has a sudden onset of dementia and is unable to set up an Estate Plan with a Living Trust as its centerpiece. Most often they are mentally incapable of realizing they need help and/or of legally executing any documents.

Usually a close relative volunteers to become the Conservator. That person must obtain documentation of the proposed Conservatee’s mental health issues, identify all assets/income, file the appropriate initial documents with the court and be prepared to prove to the court that they are reliable, honest, trustworthy and competent to serve.

Once they are appointed, the Conservator must document everything that happens and every dime that is spent. The way everything they do is scrutinized by the court, most Conservators feel that they are basically treated as “guilty until proven innocent” by the court and its investigators, etc. Periodically, accountings must be submitted to the court for approval. These accountings are typically several hundred pages, as everything must be documented.

Probate: Probate is the legal procedure by which an estate that is over $100,000 or that includes any real property, is settled through the courts. Between the filing fees, required documents, notices of hearings and all documents served on all beneficiaries, and hearings, the Probate process can be a real nightmare. For example, one document is an Inventory and Appraisal that must be submitted to a Probate Referee that is appointed by the court. After the Executor determines the value of all assets, the documents are submitted to the Probate Referee, along with the documentation of the value of each asset. The Probate Referee then does his/her own documentation of the value of each asset. This “second-guessing” goes on throughout the Probate process.

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For more information, please contact: Craig J. Bauman Attorney at Law – Local to San Diego, California email: cjb@californialawpractice.com or call (858) 488-1497

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