Probate / Estate Administration

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Probate is a legal process, managed by a court, that transfers the assets of a person who has passed away to his or her living “heirs” or “designees”. If a person passes away with a valid will in place, the people or organization(s) (such as a charity), are referred to as designees. The deceased person designated that the people named in the will were to receive his or her property. If the person dies without a valid will, the court oversees the transfer of property according to intestate succession. The people receiving the property are called heirs. Probate is a public process and the documents filed are part of the public record. Probate can also be expensive and time-consuming.

In contrast, when a person owned his or her assets through a living trust, it is likely that no court-managed administration is necessary. However, the estate must administered to properly distribute the deceased’s assets. The length of time needed to complete the probate of an estate varies depending on the size of the estate and the type of assets it holds.

Every probate is different, but usually involve the following:

  • Filing of a petition with the proper probate court.
  • Notice to heirs under the Will or to statutory heirs (if no Will exists).
  • Petition to appoint Executor (in the case of a Will) or Administrator for the estate.
  • Inventory and appraisal of estate assets by Executor/Administrator.
  • Payment of estate debt to rightful creditors.
  • Sale of estate assets.
  • Payment of estate taxes, if applicable.
  • Final distribution of assets to heirs.

Common expenses of probating an estate include executors fees, attorneys fees, accounting fees, court fees, appraisal costs, and surety bonds. These typically add up to 2% to 7% of the total estate value. Most estates are settled through probate in about 9 to 18 months, assuming there is no litigation involved.


With offices in Fremont and San Jose, California, and Metro Manila, Philippines, the attorneys of the Gervacio Denda Law Firm assist clients throughout California including Campbell, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Mountain View, Castroville and Marina in Santa Clara County, Monterey County and San Benito
County.