Estate Planning - Avoiding Probate
Learn more about how to avoid California's costly probate process.
WHY CONSIDER A LIVING TRUST?Regardless of what you have probably heard, in California a will alone is not an efficient or easy way to pass on your assets when you die. A Will must be administered through the probate court before it can be enforced. The simple and proven alternative to a Will is a Revocable Living Trust.
A Living Trust is a legal document that, like a Will, contains your instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. Unlike a Will, a Living Trust avoids probate at death, protects all of your assets and prevents the court from administering your assets if you become incapacitated.
During your lifetime you may transfer your assets to a Living Trust and serve as Trustee until you choose someone else to do so. Upon death or incapacity, a Successor Trustee would then take control of the trust assets and administer the Trust pursuant to your instructions without court supervision.
HOW DOES A LIVING TRUST AVOID PROBATE?A Will transfers assets on death while a Revocable Living Trust transfers them during your life. As Settlor of the Trust, you will serve as trustee until your death or incapacity.
The trust assets will then be administered by your Successor Trustee according to your instructions without court supervision. By avoiding probate, a living trust will protect your assets and save your heirs time and money.
PROBATEProbate is the legal process through which the court sees that your debts are paid and your assets are distributed according to either your will or state intestacy laws. Our experienced law firm provides probate services including probate administration and probate litigation services including managing probate matters as attorney for administrator/executor.
PROBATE COSTSProbate costs are governed by the California Probate Code. These costs are not the choice of the attorney or administrator of the estate. California Probate Code section 10810 sets the maximum statutory fees that attorneys can charge for a probate. Higher fees can be ordered by a court for more complicated cases. The fees are four percent of the first $100,000 of the estate, three percent of the next $100,000, two percent of the next $800,000, one percent of the next $9,000,000, and one-half percent of the next $15,000,000. For estates larger than $25,000,000, the court will determine the fee for the amount that is greater than $25,000,000.