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California Probate, Will & Trust Lawyer > Blog > Probate > Some Myths About Probate You Need To Avoid Falling for in 2024

Some Myths About Probate You Need To Avoid Falling for in 2024


Probate is the process through which a deceased person’s estate is administered. The probate process can be complicated, and like any other complex area of law, many myths abound about probate. Unless you have been through probate previously, it is quite easy to fall for these myths. Falling for probate myths can have several negative consequences, potentially resulting in, among other things, delays, misunderstandings, unnecessary stress, and increased costs. Therefore, it is vital that you avoid falling for probate myths. In this article, we share some myths about probate that you should avoid falling for in 2024.

Myth #1: A Will Must Go Through Probate

False: In California, just because there is a Will, it does not automatically mean that the Will must go through the probate process. There are some exceptions as to what has to go to probate court. For example, if the total value of the decedent’s assets falls below a certain threshold, the estate may not have to go through probate and may be eligible for a simple transfer process. In California, probate is required if the decedent’s assets are valued at over $166,250.

Myth #2: Appointing a Personal Representative Takes a Lot of Time

False: The appointment of a personal representative does not have to take a lot of time. The timeline for appointing a personal representative may vary depending on various factors, such as potential disputes and the complexity of the estate. Depending on the specific factors surrounding the case, this process can take a week or two.

Myth #3: Estate Tax Will Consume Half of the Estate 

False: It is not true that estate tax will consume half of the decedent’s estate. California is one of the states in the United States of America that does not impose an estate tax, and while the federal government imposes estate taxes at the federal level, most estates do not trigger this tax. In 2024, the federal estate tax only applies to estates over $13.61 million in the case of an individual and $27.22 in the case of a married couple.

Myth #4: As the Oldest Child, You Are Entitled To Be the Executor

False: This is also not true. The appointment of the executor is determined by the deceased person’s Will. In a case where there is no Will, state probate laws determine who will serve as the personal representative. Just because you are the oldest child does not automatically entitle you to be the executor. The court will appoint whoever your deceased parent named in their Will as the executor unless there is a good reason for not doing so. If there is no Will or if there is a good reason for not appointing the named individual as the executor, the court will appoint someone. The age of siblings is not one of the factors the court considers when deciding who to appoint as executor.

Myth #5: A Decedent’s Debts Dies With Them

False: This is false. When someone dies and leaves behind debts, those debts must be settled from funds available in the estate. Only after debts have been paid can beneficiaries receive their inheritances.

Contact The Probate Guy

If you have questions regarding the California probate process, contact the skilled and dedicated California probate lawyer, Robert L. Cohen – The Probate Guy – today to schedule a telephonic consultation.

Southern California Probate Lawyer Serving Orange, Riverside, Anaheim, Whittier & Beyond.


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I love being a probate attorney. I love helping people through a very difficult time in their lives with the probate process. My practice focuses solely on probate matters. My job is to complete the probate process as efficiently and painlessly for my clients as possible. I have found that paying the upfront costs of probate adds unneeded stress, so I will advance all of the fees and costs for the probate. No money is required to complete the probate. I will be reimbursed at the end of the case when you receive your inheritance. Call me NOW to discuss your case for free.

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