One of the things anyone would not want for their loved ones after they pass is to be faced with the stressful, expensive, and time-consuming process of probate in California. Unfortunately, the probate court is where all estates end up both with and without a will. But it does not have to be.
By doing a bit of careful planning and getting help from a trust attorney in San Jose, CA, you can avoid probate altogether. Creating a living trust in California is vital to a complete estate plan, helping you save your loved ones unnecessary hassle during an already emotional time.
What Is Probate?
When a loved one passes away and leaves behind assets, probate is the legal process that must be completed to distribute those assets. During probate, a judge will review all assets in the estate to determine the appropriate division and distribution of those assets to the beneficiaries or heirs.
The executor of the will is then in charge of completing the probate process. This process involves collecting the deceased’s assets and using them to pay any remaining debts, then distributing the rest to the beneficiaries.
A court proceeding is usually an essential step if the deceased person’s estate is of high value. Additionally, the estate’s size and the complexities involved increase the amount of time needed to settle the estate. Individuals contesting the will can draw out the process even longer.
The more time probate takes, the more it costs your loved ones. Fortunately, there are options for those that wish to ensure that the probate process is bypassed completely — living trusts.
What Is a Revocable Living Trust?
A revocable living trust in California is a document that allows you to legally transfer the ownership of your assets during your lifetime into a trust that can be changed at any time. The trustee — typically you, but it can be someone else — is then responsible for managing the assets within the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. This allows you to maintain control of your assets until the time of your passing, at which time the ownership is transferred to the person or persons of your choosing without going through probate.
How a Revocable Living Trust Avoids Probate in California
By transferring your assets to a revocable living trust, you can ensure that your estate will be distributed according to your wishes. The trustee, or successor trustee, of your estate, can oversee the distribution of your assets without court involvement. This can save everyone involved from the stress and hassle of the probate process.
Your loved ones can simply take your assets through trust administration. This process is much less complicated, far quicker, and vastly less expensive than probate in California. Additionally, if you set up your trust with help from living trust lawyers in San Jose, CA, it is likely that your family can seek assistance with trust administration. Since they are already familiar with your estate, they can further alleviate the stresses that arise during this emotional time.
How To Create a Revocable Living Trust
In most cases, a revocable living trust can be created in three main steps:
- Name a trustee, your beneficiaries, and assets that will be placed in the trust.
- Sign the document and notarize it.
- Transfer your assets into the trust.
At this point, you no longer technically own the assets, as they are the property of the trust. That being said, with a revocable living trust in California, you retain control of your assets and have the power to change or amend the trust at any time.
Consult a Trust Attorney in San Jose, CA, To Avoid the Probate Process
Compared to wills, it is easy to see that a revocable living trust goes a long way toward ensuring that your loved ones get the assets you want them to have without having to struggle through probate. If you need help making sure that your living will is set up and funded correctly, or need help with trust administration, contact Keyes Law Group today! Our compassionate and experienced team of living trust lawyers in San Jose, CA, can give you and your loved ones the peace of mind you deserve.