How to Probate a Will in San Diego

How to Probate a Will in San Diego

Wills, estates, trusts, beneficiaries… There are so many terms that are unfamiliar when dealing with estate planning. For instance, what is probate? What happens when a will goes through probate? When must this occur?

Read on below for a basic guide to legal wills and how to probate a will in San Diego.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the court process a will goes through in order to determine its validity. This is generally a routine procedure, but there are a few different aspects of probate in addition to this major one. They are:

  • Summing up the assets and/or property of the deceased person, including locating them and taking inventory
  • Appraisal of the property, if necessary
  • Paying off any debts, taxes, or fees with money from the estate
  • Distributing the remainder of the estate to beneficiaries named in the legal will in San Diego

What is the Customary Procedure to Probate a Will in San Diego?

The executor of the will and lawyers deal with the nitty-gritty of probate. First, the executor locates all of the assets and manages them accordingly. This might mean selling assets if the money in the estate isn’t enough to cover any debts, or if the will stipulates bequests in cash.

Once the assets are sorted out, the executor will petition the court for permission to pay off remaining debts or fees, and finally distribute the remainder of the estate to beneficiaries named in the will. Once this is done, all property is transferred.

Not All Property is Subject to Probate

A set amount of property determined by the state of residence is allowed to bypass the probate procedure. The amount varies from state to state.

When an estate is not subject to probate, debts are paid and property is distributed without any of the court proceedings to validate the will.

When is Avoiding Probate a Good Idea?

Since probate isn’t required for all types of property, sometimes avoiding probate is more beneficial than going through the whole drawn-out process. Avoiding probate is a good idea if there are no complications with the estate, no one is contesting the terms of the will, or there’s generally no conflict.

Going through probate court is necessary if the estate is large, complicated, or if there are conflicts.


For a legal will in San Diego, going through probate court is a necessity for some, but not all, types of property. In many cases, it might even be in the best interest of the estate owner to try to avoid probate all together in order to circumvent having their beneficiaries’ inheritances tied up in legal proceedings for a long, dragged-out period.

Ways to avoid probate include:

  • Giving away property while the testator (person who has died and left a will) is still alive
  • Engaging in joint ownership of property
  • Taking advantage of bank accounts that are payable-on-death, which means that the money goes directly to a named beneficiary upon the death of the account holder

Probate can be a tricky business, but estate owners can simplify the process by continually updating their will and figuring out how/when it is in their best interest (and in the best interest of their planned beneficiaries) to avoid it.

Keywords: legal will San Diego, probate a will San Diego

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