Probate is the method involving the procedure whereby a deceased person’s assets are distributed to his family or loved ones.  Probate is normally court-supervised, but not always.   In California, estates under $150,000 do not normally go through court supervision of the probate and are informally distributed.

So, does have a will avoid probate?  No, not normally.   If you have a will and your estate assets are valued over $166,250 (for deaths after 1/1/2020)  there is a high chance that your estate will be involved in a probate.

Are probate fights normal?  Probate disputes are very common after a person dies.  Emotions of a loss, often bring with it not only grieving, but also anger.   Most probate litigation happens during the first year after someone dies.   If you and your family want to avoid a fight, you can all agree to wait until after a year till the probate estate is distributed.

What can I do to decrease the fees and costs when a will is probated?  One thing.  Don’t fight.  Fighting is what results in undue attorneys fees.   When people can sit around a table and mediate their differences, the costs of probate become normal and no money is spent on lawsuits which are unnecessary.

Is my sister hiding my mom’s money?  Siblings become super vigilant about the parent’s money when a parent is sick or dies.  This is part the grieving process.   While there are sometimes some siblings that take advantage of the situation, that is not the case in most situations.

The initial probate order results in creation of a document called Letters Testamentary or a Letters of Administration. These two documents allow the executor to take control of the assets of the deceased and to manage them, all for the benefit of the heirs and beneficiaries.

Call Mina Sirkin about heir and beneficiary rights and executor’s duties in Los Angeles at 818.340.4479 or email us at

We serve the following communities:  Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, WoodlandHills, Glendale, Burbank, Hollywood and all of San Fernando Valley with Estate protection planning and administration.