If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And that means probate court. Probate is a court supervised process where your assets are collected and distributed to your heirs. Attorneys are allowed to charge a percentage of the gross value of your estate, even if there is little equity in it. If you have made no will, your estate will be inherited by your legal heirs, which is sometimes not your preference. Probate can be easily avoided, but yet tens of thousands of Californians end up in probate each year. Your estate planning attorney should be well versed in spousal property petitions, Probate code 850 Heggstad petitions, affidavit for collection of personal property in order to take advantage of any judicial probate avoidance option available.