Property Tax Law in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

David Lee Rice, APLC: Skilled Probate Lawyer in California

In addition to our elder law, David Lee Rice, APLC provides probate services to Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Property tax, wills, and estates are all specialties of ours. We value our clients and work hard to serve their needs, particularly during trying times. While California has a relatively straightforward set of probate laws, working with our law firm ensures a seamless and client-centric experience. We understand avoiding probate court is the best possible outcome, so we work hard to accomplish that task.

Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for Probate?

Unless there is a dispute over property or assets, probate is mostly a matter of paperwork. Still, it pays to hire a lawyer who can make sure each step of the process goes swimmingly, and all paperwork is filled out correctly. However, if you’re fighting over an estate with other beneficiaries, then it’s best to hire David Lee Rice, APLC to protect your interests.

I Am Overseeing an Estate. Will I Need a Probate?

Not always. In many cases, you can settle an estate and distribute assets without the use of the probate system. For instance, if the deceased person owned assets in joint tenancy with someone else, then you can skip the probate process. The same is true of survivorship community property, living trusts, and revocable living trusts where payable-on-death beneficiaries were named. Also, if the total value of the estate is low enough, there may be no need for probate.

How Does the Probate Process Work?

If probate is necessary, then David Lee Rice, APLC can help you get things started and guide you through the process. Probate isn’t complicated, but there can be tripping points. Our goal is to navigate you through the process and protect the estate, assets, and our clients. The probate process is as follows:

  1. First, someone must begin the probate process. Typically, this would be the individual named as the executor by the will. If there’s no will, the court will appoint someone as the administer of the estate, which is the same job.
  2. The executor’s responsibilities usually last anywhere from six to twelve months.
  3. First, the executor files the fill, along with a document called “Petition for Probate,” with the probate court. There is a filing fee of $435
  4. Depending on the circumstances, the executor or administrator might have to file additional forms and provide notice to family members and creditors.
  5. Sworn statements must validate the will.
  6. After completion of these steps, the probate court officially recognizes the executor or administrator
  7. Now, the process of gathering and cataloging the deceased’s assets begins. This is where David Lee Rice, APLC comes in. This process can be immensely complex, and hiring an attorney to help manage it can allow the executor or administrator time to grieve.

What Are the Probate Attorney Fees in California?

In most states, lawyers charge by the hour during probate cases – same as in any other legal area – but that’s not the case in California. David Lee Rice, APLC charges what’s called a “statutory fee,” which is essentially a percentage of the assets that go through the probate process. The State of California strictly regulates those fees. As of right now, the rates are as follows:

  • 4 percent of the first $100,000 of the gross value of the probate estate
  • 3 percent of the next $100,000
  • 2 percent of the next $800,000
  • One percent of the next $9,000,000
  • .5 percent of the next $15,000,000
  • A court-determined amount for estates over $25 million

What Happens if there is a Living Trust?

Living trusts can complicate the probate process, but David Lee Rice, APLC can help untangle the webs and protect your interests. In this situation, both the trustee and all beneficiaries of the trust must seek competent legal advice immediately after the death of the decedent. Even though living trusts don’t have to go through the probate process, David Lee Rice, APLC is skilled navigating probate if it represents the best path forward.

Contact David Lee Rice, APLC to Begin Your Probate Case

David Lee Rice, APLC has years of experience handling probate law in California. We understand the nuances of the law, which is vital to our ability to serve our clients. But we also understand the emotional side of probate law. Sometimes, wills and estates can be contentious. We do our best to keep heads cool and collected. Our goal is to protect your rights as either a trustee, administrator, executor or beneficiary while simultaneously protecting a smooth and stress-free process. Learn more about our firm, and contact us today.

What Sets Us Apart?

  • Over 3 Decades of Experience
  • Specialist in taxation through the California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Certified as a specialist in elder law through the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys