estate probate

Did A Loved One Die Recently? Time Is Of The Essence

Death of a loved one is a challenge, not only because a person close to you passed away, but also because they left behind belongings that must be dealt with.

It's extremely important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the death of a loved one - ideally, within a few months. A deceased person's estate must comply with numerous deadlines (some as short as 30 days), and missing any of these deadlines may result in terrible consequences, from criminal penalties to loss of thousands, and sometimes even millions, of dollars.

What happens to the estate after one's death?

Here is a brief overview of what happens In both probate (no trust) and trust administration situations:

  1. A person in charge of the estate is appointed (trustee if there'a trust, and executor if there's probate)
  2. The person in charge gathers all the assets
  3. The person in charge gathers all the liabilities
  4. The person in charge settles the liabilities
  5. The person in charge distributes the remaining assets to beneficiaries, and closes the estate

For assets that are part of a trust, the above steps are performed as a part of trust administration, which is done in the privacy of an attorney's office, and paid for hourly, to the attorney.

Assets not part of the trust may be subject to probate process in probate court. In probate, the process outlined above is performed with court's supervision, and paid for according to a schedule set by law. Typically, probate costs tens of thousands of dollars more than trust administration. Use our probate calculator to get a good idea of the probate costs your estate could be subject to.

How Should You Proceed?

If a loved one died recently, you must deal with the estate they left behind. We can help. Please schedule a free consultation to get started.


"I highly recommend Marina. I went to Marina to set up a Trust. I thought it would be long drawn out process that would take at least 6 months... I was so wrong. Marina is professional and extremely efficient. She is very knowledgeable in Wills and Trusts. She is easy to work with and very patient in explaining the details. She explained the step by step process, gave me homework to compete, and within 2 weeks my trust was completed."
- Rhonda A, Santa Clara, CA 9/10/2016

"We chose Marina Modlin of Modlin Legal Services based on Yelp reviews, and we were thrilled with the service we received. She had a wonderful way of simplifying things with regards to setting up a will/trust & all the documents that go with it. I have already given a friend her name with high confidence that she will be happy with her services too."
- Sheryl A, San Jose, CA 4/22/2014