In estate planning world, the term “probate” is often associated with a negative concept. True in a sense, for the majority — very much so with larger estates — financial advisors would advise in having a plan to keep the estate out of probate. That being said, this system was ultimately established to protect the property of the deceased and his/her heirs, and in a few cases, it may even work to an advantage. Let’s go over some points about the pros and cons of going through this process.

The Pros

Regarding those probated estates that did not have a will, this process functions to secure all assets are properly dispersed abiding by the state law. Here are some good possibilities of an estate going into probate.

  • It contributes an honest and dependable process for redistributing the estate to the beneficiaries if no will was created.
  • It confirms and carries out the wishes of the estate owner if a will is in existence.
  • It ensures taxes and claimed debts are paid on the estate, so there’s a finality to the deceased person’s affairs, rather than an uncertain, lingering feeling for the beneficiaries.
  • If the deceased was in debt, probate gives only a brief window for creditors to file a claim, which can result in more debt forgiveness.
  • Probate can be advantageous for distributing smaller estates in which estate planning was unaffordable.

The Cons

While probate is intended to work fairly to facilitate the transfer of property after someone dies, consider bypassing the process for these reasons:

  • It is a matter of public record, which means personal family and financial information become public knowledge.
  • There may be considerable costs, including court, attorney, and executor fees, all of which get deducted from the value of the estate.
  • It can be time-consuming, holding up distribution of the assets for months, and sometimes, years.
  • Probate can be complicated and stressful for your executor and your beneficiaries.

Bottom line: While probate is a default mechanism that ultimately works to enforce fair distribution of even small estates, it can create undue cost and delays. For that reason, many people prefer to use strategies to keep their property out of probate when they die.

An experienced estate planning attorney can develop a strategy to help you avoid this long process and make life easier for the next generation. For more information about your options, contact us today to schedule a consultation. We are located in the Claremont Village. We service San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Please call (909) 256-6702 to discuss your questions and schedule a FREE consultation:
Trust and Estate, Elder Law, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration and Probate in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties. We offer flat, hourly and contingent fees, based on the type of matter.




341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711

MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of trust and estate, elder law, special needs, conservatorship, trust administration and probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont, but assists clients throughout Southern California.

This information is educational information only and not legal advice.