Probate & Trust Litigation

Exceptional Probate Litigation Skills in Orange County, California
best probate lawyer orange county ca

Top Probate & Trust Litigation Lawyer in Orange County, CA

Gregory Cabo represents clients in probate matters, including estate and trust administration, probate litigation, trust litigation, wills, and trusts challenges and related property law, corporations law, and contract law issues.

What is Probate?
The term probate refers to a legal process in which the validity and authenticity of a will are determined. Probate also refers to the general administration of a deceased person’s will or the estate of a deceased person without a will. After an asset holder dies, the court appoints an executor named in the will or an administrator (if there is no will) to administer the process of probate.

This involves collecting the deceased’s assets to pay any liabilities that remain on their estate and distributing the assets to beneficiaries.

Probate encompasses more than distributing property under a will. Probate administration includes the entire process of implementing the decedent’s will and winding up all of their financial affairs death. Without an appropriate estate plan, a decedent’s affairs typically will be handled through California intestacy laws which oftentimes involve the Probate Court. This is generally the case for assets that were not appropriately placed in the trust, assets not going to a spouse, or estates exceeding $166,250 or $184,500 for persons dying after April 1, 2022.

Sometimes, the probate process can take many months to complete and can be complex. Orange County probate attorney Gregory Cabo can handle your estate administration for you and guide you through the process, which includes preparing inventories, reports, and accounting, providing required notices to heirs, creditors, and government agencies, and working with the probate referee in establishing asset valuation, working with you and estate accountants in preparing final tax returns, gift tax returns, and estate tax returns, managing assets and liabilities, the distribution of assets and the closing of the estate.

best probate lawyer orange county ca

Seeking an Orange County Probate Litigation Attorney?
When people do not create a living trust or an estate plan before they pass away, their assets may go through the probate process.

As with any case that goes before a judge, it’s important that you have knowledgeable legal assistance, like that provided by a probate litigation attorney. Orange County residents rely on these professionals for guidance through the administration of the estate, expediting probate, and ensuring that the assets are managed correctly.

More About Orange County Probate
The probate process is meant to wind down the legal and financial affairs of those who have passed away. An administrator, named by the court, leads this process. He or she is usually a family member, friend, or someone trusted by the decedent. The executor is responsible for disposing of the assets to the beneficiaries pursuant to the terms of the will.

Probate is essential because it may be the only legal means for dealing with legal title to property, finances, or other material assets left over after a person is gone. However, the process can be complex and lengthy, which is why people often turn to help from a probate attorney Orange County beneficiaries and executors may both hire attorneys, though for different purposes.

Probate Questions & Answers

How Much Does It Cost to “Probate” an Estate?

Attorneys’ fees and administrative fees are set by California Probate Statutes and are based on a percentage of the gross estate accounted for by the personal representative.  The value of the estate accounted for by the personal representative is the total amount of the appraisal of the property in the inventory, plus gains over the appraisal value on sales, plus receipts, fewer losses from the appraisal value on sales, without reference to encumbrances or other obligations on the estate property. Ordinary fees for each are as follows:

(1) Four percent on the first one hundred thousand dollars;

(2) Three percent on the next one hundred thousand dollars;

(3) Two percent on the next eight hundred thousand dollars;

(4) One percent on the next nine million dollars;

(5) One-half of 1 percent on the next fifteen million dollars;

(6) For all amounts above twenty-five million dollars, a reasonable amount is to be determined by the court.

In addition to attorneys’ fees and personal representative fees, there are also Court filing fees, publication fees, appraisal fees, and bond fees.

What Is Involved in Trust Administration?

A successor trustee has to prepare the proper notices, gather and prepare full accountings of the trust’s income, assets, and debts, appraise assets, prepare and file tax returns, and hold or distribute the trust property according to the terms of the trust. This can be a lengthy and complex process, especially if many assets have to be accounted for.

What Legal Basis Can I Challenge a Will or Trust?

Generally, wills and trusts can be challenged on the basis that the individual lacked the mental capacity to execute the document in question, or by fraud, misrepresentation, menace, duress, undue influence, mistake, forgery, or lack of due execution.

Wills and trust challenges are extremely complex. Further, there are certain time limitations with which to bring a will or trust challenge. You should immediately seek legal advise from an attorney regarding your situation.

What Kind of Property Claims Can Be Litigated in the Probate Court?

Property claims regarding the decedent including creditor claims, contract claims to convey the property, property of another title to or in the possession of the decedent, community property claims, and a decedent’s claim to property held by another can all be properly bought in the California Probate Court

Probate litigation is extremely complex. Further, there are certain time limitations with which to bring your claims. You should immediately seek legal advice from an attorney regarding your situation.

What Is Financial Elder Abuse?

Our elder population in Orange, Riverside, and Los Angeles Counties is continually growing. Elders can be particularly susceptible to fraud and exploitation of their wealth. In California, the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act allows a civil tort lawsuit against the perpetrator of financial elder abuse against a person or entity who has wrongfully taken, concealed, or disposed of property of an elder or a dependent adult with the intent to defraud. It extends to those who assist in the taking, secreting, and appropriating of the elder’s property. Anyone, including financial institutions and their representatives, care providers, friends, family members, and even a spouse can commit financial elder abuse. The elder can bring financial elder abuse claims while living or the estate or the heirs can bring these claims after death.

Bringing financial elder abuse claims to the probate court is extremely complex. Further, there are certain time limitations with which to bring your claims. You should immediately seek legal advice from an attorney regarding your situation.

Do executors and administrators get paid for managing the estate?

Yes, court-appointed executors or administrators get paid a statutory fee similar to attorneys.  They also get reimbursed for legitimate expenses incurred during the probate process. You may also be entitled to “extraordinary fees” for nonroutine matters, such as closing or selling a business or selling real property.  

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