Is Probate Always Necessary? Advice from Mina Sirkin

Is probate always necessary?  Not always.  Where there are alternatives to probate that have been set up during a person’s life, probate can be avoided in most situations. Ask us about the alternatives to probate.

How to determine if an asset needs to be probated?

First you look at the type of asset:

If the asset is of a type that can have a beneficiary, start there first.   Find out if there are any named beneficiaries.  If there are named beneficiaries who are alive, then probate would generally not ben necessary for that asset.

Then, look at the totality of assets which do not have beneficiary designations, and are not jointly owned.

If the total of those assets is below $150,000, then it is likely that no probate will be needed.

Sometimes, a probate is started for the purposes of shortening a creditor’s claim period.

Ask if there is a Trust and a Pour over will.   Sometimes we can avoid probate by bringing assets into an existing trust, even after death, via a special petition.

Call Mina Sirkin, Trust and Estate attorney in Los Angeles at 818.340.4479 or email us at