By: Atty. Robert L. Ferris
PROBATE is a legal process regarding the administration and distribution of the estate of a deceased person. It is administered under the jurisdiction of Probate courts. The court makes sure that the decedent’s real and personal property is identified, inventoried and appraised, and ensures that any applicable debts and taxes are paid before the balance of the property is distributed to the heirs. PROBATE is a very time consuming and paperwork intensive process. Most people hire a Probate Attorney to help them with the probate administration process.
WHAT IS A LIVING TRUST?
A Revocable Trust sometimes referred to as a Living Trust is an Estate Planning tool designed to avoid Probate. Similar to a will, a Trust states who will be in charge of a decedent’s estate upon death (the trustee) and who will receive that property (the beneficiaries). The person making the Trust (trustor) transfers title to their home and other real property to the Trust by means of a Quitclaim Deed.
A POUR-OVER WILL is also prepared at the time the Trust is created. This specific type of Will insures that any assets acquired after the creation of the Trust, but not transferred to the Trust, will be distributed in the same manner as those assets in the Trust. In other words, the assets are poured over into the Trust.
WHAT IS A WILL?
Traditionally the most common method of transferring property upon death is a Will. In a Will the decedent states who will be in charge of his or her estates upon death (the executor) and who will receive his or her property (the beneficiaries). If the decedent owned a home or other real property which is not held in Joint Tenancy, and the beneficiary is not the decedent’s surviving spouse, then the Will must be PROBATED in order for title to the property to pass to the beneficiaries. The cost to PROBATE a $500,000 estate (gross value without mortgage deduction) including Attorney’s fees, executor fees, and court costs is approximately $27,000.00.
Rudolf: AN ATTORNEY WHO ACTUALLY LISTENS
We retained Mr. Ferris to assist in resolving issues that arose from a complicated Probate/Trust case. He has provided representation regarding a Breach of Contract case as well. He is methodological around case analysis. He always explained options when decisions needed to be made around case direction. He kept us well informed during both processes.
He received a good rating due to his knowledge to perform considerable research around unexpected judicial obstructions.
Robert Ferris did the probate on my mom’s house after her passing. I found him through the San Mateo County Lawyers Referral Services. He answered all my phone calls immediately and answered all my questions. He kept me informed as to the status of the Probate and explained what to expect. I appreciate that because that helped me prepare to provide him with all the information and payments required of me. Considering how difficult this was, working with Atty. Ferris went very smoothly and I found him to be extremely considerate and professional.
Glenn: WILLS AND TRUSTS FOR MY PARENTS
I contracted Atty. Ferris to assist my parents in creating a Living Trust. He was conscientious in his dealings with my parents. He answered all concerns in a professional manner. All work was completed with reasonable haste.
Julie: FAMILY ATTORNEY
Atty. Ferris has been our Attorney for many years. He has advised my parents as well as my in-laws on family estate trust. He has assisted my son and daughter with legal matters and I trust him with our entire families’ legal affairs.
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