It is important to get legal advice from an experienced Probate Attorney in order to determine if a Probate needs to be filed in Los Angeles County and what kind of Probate would be filed.  The laws regarding Probate may be different in each state. In California a Will does not avoid Probate–a Trust does this.

If the Attorney determines that there is a valid Trust, then a ‘Trust transfer’ would distribute the assets as per the directions of the Trust. A Probate would not be needed. However, if there is a valid Will, and no Trust, then the directions of the Will would be followed in the Probate i.e. the Will would be ‘probated’.

Here is what is needed:

  1. The Attorney would need to see the Will and/or Trust if these documents exist
  2. The client would need the ‘date of death’ and present a Death Certificate when possible
  3. If it is determined that a regular Probate is needed (for assets and/or real estate over $150,000) it would need to be filed
  4. If the assets total under $150,000, and there is no real estate involved, then a Probate Code Declaration can be used to distribute assets
  5. If there is real estate that is under $20,000, an affidavit would be needed to transfer ownership of the property with or without a Will
  6. If there is real estate under $150,000 but over $20,000 then a Succession of Real Property is required with or without a Will

In order to file for Probate in Los Angeles County, the decedent would need to be a resident of the county. If the person resided in another state at the time of death but had real estate in Los Angeles County then a Probate in this county would be needed to transfer only the real estate. If there are assets only (no real estate) then the Probate for the assets would be filed in the county in which the decedent lived & passed away. The laws with regard to Probate are the same throughout California, but the process may vary from county to county.

For questions regarding Probate or estate planning documents, call Legal Action Workshop @1-800-HELP-444 or visit




Reader Interactions


  1. Bob Emerson says

    Hi, my father passed away November 17th at age 92. We moved him out here from SC in the spring of 2013 to live in assisted living in Montrose so we could be close to him. (We are in Burbank) Over the years we sold his property (house ,car, etc) so he had no property except what he had in his room at Mountview assisted living. I’m his fiduciary for Social security and the VA. He has two fairly small accounts (total under $15k) where he has payment made to him. I notified all of them last week. He does have a will and I am named executor. It says the estate is split between me and my brother who lives in VA although there is not much. Do I need to open probate in CA? Hopefully this will be easy but I’m not sure what to do next. Can you give me a direction to go?
    Thank you,
    Bob Emerson

    • Brenda Platt-Drucker says

      We spoke about this yesterday. It doesn’t appear that you will need to file a probate since all assets appear to have a beneficiary listed. When beneficiaries are listed, the assets simply go to the person(s) listed once the death certificate and ID are shown to the various asset companies. You shouldn’t have any problems going forward…but if you do, give us a call @ 818-630-5503.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

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