Is Probate Public in California?

The answer is yes. Probate is a public proceeding in the Superior Court in California. What that means is that the will of somebody who recently passed away gets submitted to the court and that becomes a public record.

The last thing that the executor does in a case before the court distributes the assets to the beneficiaries is to file and inventory of the assets which lists out all of the assets that the decedent owned on the date of his or her death. And the value of those assets. That inventory and appraisal, as it’s known, is also a public record. And so you have the will, which is who gets what and then you have the inventory and appraisal which lists out what the assets are and what their value is. And that is a lot of financial information to have in the public domain.

In fact, one of the main motivations for most people to do estate planning is to avoid the public nature of probate.

Quick Question Corner is a video segment where we answer common questions about estate planning and elder law. If you have similar questions, leave them in the comment section and we can feature them in one of our videos in the future.

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