Probate is a court supervised proceeding utilized to oversee the administration of the decedent's estate and the distribution of assets to the appropriate heirs and beneficiaries. It is also a process to determined who is entitled to receive distributions of property either under your will or according to the laws o intestate succession (if you die without a Will). If the aggregate fair market value of the decedent's probatable estate is more than $150,000, than a probate proceeding will be necessary to transfer that estate to the appropriate parties, whether or not the decedent had a Will.
Probates take at least a year from start to finish due to the backup in the courtrooms in Los Angeles and are expected to take even longer as the backlogs do not seem to be subsiding. They are paperwork intensive with a multitude of noticing requirements and statutory time limitations for completing tasks. Most of everything filed is available to the public and probates are expensive, costing anywhere between 3-5 percent of the fair market value of the estate