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Probate Avoidance Methods

Explained by a Sacramento Probate Attorney

Due to the costs and delays associated with probate, Californians often wonder if probate can be avoided. The short answer is yes, it can, but it depends upon how a person's assets are organized. At Yonano Law Offices, P.C., attorney Nick Yonano has over 28 years of experience handling simple and complex probate proceedings, and he can help you understand how and when probate can be avoided in California.

Why choose our Sacramento probate firm?

  • Attorney Yonano graduated from Georgetown Law Center.
  • He is a member of several United States district courts.
  • He is a licensed California real estate broker.
  • He has extensive knowledge of California probate law.

How does one avoid probate?

Probate is a court-supervised process of settling a decedent's estate; this process can take between 9 months and 1 1/2 years in California. Some people want to avoid the costs and delays associated with probate so they arrange their assets accordingly.

Probate is necessary for transferring ownership of property owned solely in the decedent's name to his or her beneficiaries; however, probate can often be avoided by creating a revocable living trust and by transferring all of one's assets into the trust.

During your lifetime, you can be the trustee of your trust and you would be the sole beneficiary. You would name a successor trustee to take over upon your death, thereby avoiding the need for probate. Once you pass away, the successor trustee would distribute your property to your beneficiaries according to the instructions set forth in your trust.

Ways to Avoid Probate

By means of a trust or through other methods of arranging your assets, probate can be avoided. Deciding whether or not probate avoidance is right for you will require a careful review of your assets and your relationship with your beneficiaries.

Some people choose to avoid probate by making their children co-owners of their assets; however, if your child dies before you, or if they get a divorce, or have creditor problems of their own, your assets could be at risk.

Common ways to avoid probate, include:

  • Revocable living trust
  • Payable-on-death accounts and registrations (e.g. bank accounts & retirement accounts)
  • Life insurance with beneficiary designations
  • Joint ownership of property
  • Community property with right of survivorship
  • Gifts
  • Simplified probate procedures (for small estates)

In California, there is a probate threshold defining small estates, which can bypass the probate process. California Probate Code states that estates totaling less than $150,000 in assets are not required to go through probate. Estates that exceed this amount are required to go through the probate process.

Contact Yonano Law Offices, P.C. today!

When you meet with Attorney Yonano in a consultation, he can answer all of your questions about California's probate proceedings. If you have been appointed an executor or an administrator of a Sacramento estate that is subject to probate proceedings, we can inform you of your rights and responsibilities under the law.

Simplify the process for you, let us guide you every step of the way. Contact us today.

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