What is Probate? (And How Can I Avoid It?)

When someone dies without a properly-executed estate plan specifically designed to avoid the probate process, default rules imposed by California Law will govern the distribution of the decedent’s assets. If the decedent’s estate exceeds $166,250 in value (excepting joint accounts and accounts with designated beneficiaries) the estate goes into probate. The probate process in California is not cheap; it involves a number of steps that can stretch on for months or years, even with the help of an experienced attorney. All assets subject to probate are listed in a publicly available document, making privacy impossible to maintain during the process. Even worse, anyone inheriting from the estate will have to wait until the end of the probate process.

Long story short: say grandma dies and leaves her two houses and her bank accounts to her kids with instructions for those kids to sell the houses. No one can touch those assets until the probate process is complete – even if that takes a year or more. Meanwhile, the kids are paying to maintain the houses, hoping they’ll be sufficiently reimbursed when the last piece of paperwork is finally filed.

When you leave an inheritance for your children (or grandchildren,) you want it to be something that can benefit their lives, not create a burden for them that will haunt them throughout the grieving process. So how can you avoid probate? With a properly-executed, air-tight estate plan that includes a formidable living trust document.

That’s where an experienced attorney comes in. By paying a little to prepare now, you can save your loved ones a lot of money, hassle and time should the worst occur. An ounce of prevention can save you and your loved ones a pound of headache. Don’t take chances with probate. Protect your estate with a living trust.

Rayo Law Offices Can Help:
Call (916) 668-9606 or (925) 825-1955 or contact Zachary Rayo online to set up an appointment for an initial “meet and greet” consultation.

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