If you own real property in California & hold title that property in title, such as, in joint tenancy, it will eventually go through the Probate Courts. The Probate process can be a very complicated, lengthy process (up to 18 months or more) & cost your family and heirs huge fees, (including attorney fees). Consider Probate the government’s way of saying, “No one put in writing how you want your assets settled when you die, so we’re just going to do it for you.” This is especially true when people think that a written will will avoid Probate, which it does not.
However, If you own real property in California & hold the property in a living trust, you avoid the Probate process all together. You and your estate can maintain control by designating beneficiaries in your trust, & you won’t be relying on a judge to decide what happens to your estate. No court involvement! No Probate fees! And no capital gains tax!
This is why a living trust that can cost from $700 to $3,500 to prepare, is really a no-brainer when it comes to the alternatives of how much the Probate process will cost to settle an estate. I have a trust, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I know exactly what is going to happen with my assets after I die, & I’m not worried about my wife & daughter having to jump through expensive hurdles as they would in Probate.
You can contact me for a handout about the different ways to hold title in California, The Probate Process, & referrals to attorneys that can help draft a living trust for you.