Whenever a deceased person’s assets move through a California probate court, the estate’s representative or executor must collect and inventory the estate’s real, physical, and cash assets. Inventorying assets can be easy if they have a known value, as is the case with cash accounts or stock portfolios. However, California does not let estate representatives assign values to most non-cash assets. If and when non-cash probate assets need to be appraised, the court will hand over that responsibility to a probate referee.
The Role of a Probate Referee
Probate referees are appointed by the California State Controller to serve a specific county. They review the inventory of an estate and then appraise the value of listed non-cash assets. In some cases, they may also appraise the value of non-probate assets such as those transferred into a living trust.
If an estate needs a probate referee, they may be automatically appointed. If a county probate court does not automatically select a probate referee, the estate representative or executor will have to file a request for the court to appoint one. The exact paperwork needed to order a referee varies from county to county, as do processing times and filing requirements.
Getting a Probate Referee If One Isn’t Appointed
Sometimes the executor may be able to choose an individual probate referee from a register of available referees; a list of probate referees is available on the California Controller’s website.
The benefits of choosing a referee should be discussed with an experienced estate planning attorney familiar with the court’s jurisdiction.
In certain, limited circumstances, the court can waive an appraisal by a probate referee. Oftentimes, estate administrators will request such waivers to save money. However, these requests are not commonly granted—and even when they are, they tend not to garner significant savings.
Do You Need Legal Help Regarding Probate Issues In California?
If a loved one died without a will and you need legal assistance regarding the probate process you should be speak with an experienced probate attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 800.756.5596 to claim your space at one of our free, informative seminars. Your attendance will qualify you for a discount for our probate services. We proudly serve clients throughout California with offices in experienced probate attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 800.756.5596 to claim your space at one of our free, informative seminars. Your attendance will qualify you for a discount for our probate services. We proudly serve clients throughout California with offices in Torrance, Newport Beach, Orange, Woodland Hills and Pasadena.