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Understanding the role of a probate referee

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2021 | Estate Planning

Serving as the executor or personal representative of a loved one’s estate in California can be a daunting task (especially if you are not familiar with the state’s probate code and/or administrative guidelines). Often people ask a legal professional to fill that role, yet when you already have a deep personal connection to the decedent, it may make sense to them to entrust the task to you.

Still, that trust does not make the job any less challenging (especially when it comes to valuing the estate’s assets. Many come to us here at Rita Holder Law believing they have no assistance in this task. If you share the same concern, it likely comes as a relief to you to learn that is not the case.

Assistance with estate asset valuation

Indeed, California probate courts offer you help in this regard by appointing a probate referee. Typically every county or jurisdiction has a pre-selected list of referee candidates that they work with on estate administration cases. These are usually accountants or other professionals with extensive experience in asset appraisal, and their primary role becomes helping you put a total value on the estate under your management.

Up-to-date training on the latest valuation techniques

Per the California State Controller’s Office, potential probate referees must remain certified through the state. This certification requires 15 hours of continuing education every fiscal year (12 of which must be in any of the following areas):

  • Ethics
  • Real estate appraisal
  • Personal property valuation
  • Small business valuation

Their remaining training hours must focus on the specializations of valuing business assets as well as agricultural and income properties.

Compensation for the work of the probate referee comes from the estate’s assets. You can find more information on the collaborative process of estate administration by continuing to explore our site.