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Is There a Way to Avoid Probate?

 Posted on August 12, 2022 in Wills

CA estate lawyerIf you are asking this question, you have probably heard quite a bit about what going through probate is like - or you have been forced to endure the process yourself to settle a loved one’s estate. So you know that going through full probate is an arduous process. The fees and costs involved can seem astronomical, especially if you have to hire appraisers, fend off a pointless contest, or handle any of the other hurdles that can pop up during probate. You may now be wondering if there is a way that you can avoid putting your loved ones through probate in your own estate plan. Fortunately, there is. By using a living trust, you can bypass the probate courts entirely. Your beneficiaries will appreciate it - and there may be benefits of using a trust during your own lifetime.

How Does Using a Trust Let My Beneficiaries Skip Probate?

A trust is an excellent alternative to a will. When you create a trust, you fund it by transferring ownership of some or all of your property to the trust.

Do not worry, this does not mean that you lose control of your money or property. You can declare yourself the trustee of your trust and authorize yourself to make distributions from the trust at your own discretion. Essentially, so long as you use a revocable trust, you can do whatever you please with the property you have funded your trust with.

When you pass away, there is no estate to settle in probate because the trust owns everything. All that needs to happen is for your successor trustee - the person you appointed to manage your trust after your death - to be notified, and they can begin making distributions according to your instructions immediately.

Do I Still Need a Will At All if I Have a Trust?

Many people who have a trust in place will use what is called a pour-over will to back up their trust. Basically, all a pour-over will does is leave any property that did not end up in the trust during your lifetime to the trust. A pour-over will protects you in case some property was inadvertently left out of the trust, or if your loved ones discover after your death that you owned something you did not know about. This happens much more frequently than you may think.

Parents of minor children should always have a will. There is one thing a will can do that a trust cannot, and that is naming the person you would want to step in and take custody of your children.

Limiting a will to these two uses will generally protect your future beneficiaries from having to do battle with the probate court.

Speak with a California Trust Attorney

Law Office of David Schechet is skilled at designing custom estate plans for each individual client. Our skilled L.A. trust lawyers will help you choose the right type of trust for your particular needs. Call 800-282-4731 for a free consultation.





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