California law generally requires a probate whenever an individual dies having more than $150,000 of assets in their name alone if those assets are passing to someone other than a surviving spouse. In difficult family circumstances where there may be significant friction between family members, court oversight through probate may be the preferable method for transferring the estate. For most families, however, avoiding probate would be preferred because of the substantial costs and lengthy involvement with the courts. Our firm represents executors and family members in all area probate courts for those times when insufficient planning makes probate unavoidable.