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Things You Can Do in Your Estate Plan to Avoid Probate

I work with many people who want to know what they can do to avoid the probate process. As an experienced estate planning and probate attorney, I understand the various options that are available to those who wish to protect their assets and avoid disputes and litigation. Here are a few of the most common options that my clients have used in the past to successfully pass down property without needing to go through probate.

Creating a Trust

This is perhaps the most common method of transferring property outside of probate. There are many different types of trusts that may be available to you, depending upon the specifics of your situation. In most cases, we will be setting up a revocable trust in which assets are set aside for a specific individual or individuals to transfer at the time of your passing. These funds may be used for a particular purpose, like caring for a special needs child.

The advantage of using a trust is that it allows you to pass along substantial assets without needing probate. By avoiding the time and expense of the process, you can be sure that your loved ones will receive the property in a much more efficient fashion.

Probate Court

Property with Right of Survivorship

This is often common for married couples. Couples may have certain items, like retirement assets or real property, that they intended for their spouse to receive after they pass. You can create, with the assistance of an experienced attorney, an estate plan that allows this property to transfer without needing probate.

Payable on Death Accounts

Many individuals in California have checking or savings accounts that have a payable on death provision. These provisions allow the one who holds the assets to designate an individual who would receive the property upon the account holder's passing. This property would transfer outside of the probate process. Only certain assets may apply for this option, and I can help you understand what you can do if you wish to take advantage of this in your estate plan.