Santa Ana Probate Attorney


There are many changes to confront after the loss of a loved one. In addition to the emotional effects, there are also important legal matters to handle in estate administration. For instance, the estate might go through probate, the court process in which property is transferred to others. Probate involves assessing and distributing the deceased’s assets, proving the validity of wills, and addressing any outstanding debts.

Not all estates go through probate in California, but when they do, they can be complicated and draining. Disputes and confusion may arise, and you shouldn’t have to handle these alone. Having a skilled Orange County probate lawyer by your side can make all the difference and can help keep probate litigation running smoothly. At the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker, our experienced team can support you every step of the way so that the probate process goes as well as possible.


Probate is the court-supervised process of transferring a person’s property. It begins with filing the deceased individual’s will. Then, an executor, who is often already named in the deceased person’s last will and testament, will be officially appointed. The executor will then alert creditors to the death, handle paying any outstanding debts with the estates’ assets, and oversee the distribution of remaining assets.

While this may seem straightforward, each person’s estate is unique, and many probate processes involve complications or disputes that require legal intervention. For instance, family members may fight about who is the rightful heir of certain assets or the value of assets in the estate, the validity of creditors’ claims might be disputed, and the validity of the will itself might be called into question. Contacting a knowledgeable Santa Ana probate attorney to address the legal aspects of probate can help untangle such complexities. It is this lawyer’s job to ensure efficient probate administration and provide you peace of mind during this long, often overwhelming process.

What Is a Probate Lawyer?

A probate lawyer is an attorney who addresses all of the complex matters of probate litigation. Many are also estate planning attorneys, but a probate attorney and an estate planning attorney are not exactly the same. An estate planning attorney can help individuals create wills and trusts so that they can strategically decide how they want their assets to be distributed after they pass on. If a person used an estate planning attorney to draw up a will, it can often help avoid disputes about a will’s validity in probate. Estate planning attorneys can also arrange property appraisals, draw healthcare directives that appoint a trusted person to make medical decisions for an incapacitated person, and more.

However, a probate lawyer is an attorney who concentrates on all of the legal aspects, paperwork, and nuances of the probate process in particular. For example, probate lawyers can assist with any of the following things: 

  • Assessing the appointed executor of the probate estate
  • Ensuring proper interpretation of the will and addressing will disputes
  • Transferring ownership of real estate and other assets
  • Managing debt payments and requesting relief from creditors
  • Minimizing estate taxes and maximizing the estate’s value
  • Providing guidance on trust administration


The right Santa Ana probate attorney can help keep a probate process as calm, efficient, and quick as possible. Probate is often a lengthy experience, with the average time period stretching about nine months. The long period gives creditors the time they need to pursue debts and the executor the time to distribute all assets and make sure all debts have been paid. Since probate attorneys are pros at navigating the court system, they are essential for making the probate period as short as possible.

  • Family Tensions: Disputes among family members over asset distribution can significantly slow down the steps involved in probate. For example, the deceased person’s will might designate assets to one person, but if another person wants it, they might call into question the validity of the will. With emotions running high, it can be difficult to sort out such disputes without professional guidance. A reliable probate lawyer can help smooth things over and keep the process running without delay.
  • Dealing with Debts: If your loved one left behind debts that need to be repaid, they can draw out probate and cause rising stress among family members. A skilled probate lawyer can assess these debts and their tax implications and ensure they are efficiently addressed. They may even work with creditors to request relief.
  • Ensuring an Appropriate Executor: You might worry that the executor of an estate is not fulfilling your late loved one’s wishes. A probate attorney can take a close look at the executor and, if necessary, revoke their authority so that you rest assured the wishes of the decedent are respected.


Different states have different rules regarding probate charges. In the state of California, the charge is based on the value of the estate going through probate. The fee that you will pay your California probate lawyer will thus be based on your specific situation, and your probate lawyer can help you understand the cost.

Legally, the estate is required to pay 4% of the first $100,000 of the estate’s value to the attorney and the executor. Then, 3% of the next $10,000, 2% of the following $800,000, then 1% of the next $9 million, and 0.5% of the remaining estate.


Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy, so don’t make the probate process in Santa Ana, CA harder than it needs to be. Let a lawyer take the legal complexities and potential disputes off your hands, so you can focus on your emotional well-being. At the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker, we can answer all of your questions and concerns regarding probate and provide strategic advice regarding any disputes. Contact us today to ensure your loved one’s estate is in capable hands.

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