In California if you have an estate valued over $100,000, your property will go through a process called "probate". Probate is supervised by the probate court. If you do not have a trust the court will determine the distribution of your assets in accordance to your will. Without a will the court will distribute your assets pursuant to California probate code.
Why avoid probate?
Probate takes time. Probate proceedings can take over a year to complete.
Probate is expensive. Attorney’s fees for probate are set by law and begin at 4.00% of the gross value of the estate.
Probate is public record. The court will appoint a probate referee to place a fair market value on the estate’s assets. Once this is complete the information is filed with the court and anyone can review and make copies of this information.