Estate planning is an essential part of life. Planning ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. Planning avoids probate. Probate is the legal process by which a court oversees the distribution of your assets after your death. Probate is long and expensive. Best to avoid it if possible. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to avoid California probate.
Step 1: Create a Living Trust
One of the most effective ways to avoid California probate is to create a living trust. A living trust is a legal document that owns your assets and is managed by a trustee of your choosing. By transferring ownership of your assets to the trust, you can avoid the need for probate because your assets are not technically part of your estate when you pass away. This means that your beneficiaries can receive their inheritance quickly and without the need for court supervision.
Step 2: Prepare a Deed
Once you have a trust agreement in place, you will need to prepare a new deed to transfer ownership of your property from you to you as trustee of your trust. This deed must include the legal description of the property and the trust as the new owner.
Step 3: Record the Deed
The next step is to record the new deed with the county recorder’s office in the county where the property is located. This will officially transfer ownership of the property to the trust.
Step 4: Review Your Beneficiary Designations
Many assets, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and bank accounts, allow you to name a beneficiary to receive the assets upon your death. It is essential to review and update your beneficiary designations regularly to ensure that they reflect your current wishes. If you fail to do so, these assets may need to go through probate.
In conclusion, probate is a lengthy and expensive process that should be avoided whenever possible. By following these four steps, you can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes without the need for court supervision. Creating a living trust, preparing a deed, recording the deed and reviewing beneficiary designations, are all effective ways to keep your estate out of probate in California.
We are here to help you create your trust and transfer your real property into your trust. Call for an appointment at 714-846-2888.