Probate laws are different state-to-state. For example, California is known for its mandated attorney fees that are higher than in other states. Probate can take up to two years depending on the complexity of the estate. Smaller estates with less assets and fewer heirs can be more streamlined, but either way, there are many documents and reports to file with the Court, which can be rejected if not executed correctly, thus delaying the whole process. If the deceased has a complete estate plan with a Living Trust, the estate may still pass through Probate if not every asset was re-titled and transferred to the Trust. However, the Trust eliminates the need for a lengthy court investigation into the existing assets, and helps avoid confusion over beneficiaries and extensive Court fees.