Every state has different laws with regard to Probate. In California, a Probate usually occurs when the value of the estate is over $150,000 and there is no Trust (also called Living Trust). The most common way to avoid Probate in California is to create a Living Trust. This means that if a person had a Will, but no Trust, their estate would still go through Probate if the value of the estate was over $150,000. A Probate is not only for physical property such as a house or condominium, it may also include bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts etc. However, if these accounts have beneficiaries who are alive, then these accounts would not be part of the Probate. If there is real estate or assets under $150,000 a Probate may still be needed. In this case, the courts allow for a shorter version of a Probate. The Attorney will discuss your options based on the type of asset and the value of the asset.