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3 ways to avoid probate in California

When you are planning how to pass on your wealth and belongings, you want to have the best outcome possible. The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of cash on the costly and often time-consuming probate process. You might be wondering what you can do to avoid probate. Below are answers to your questions about probate and what you can do to avoid it.

1. Living trust

One option is to make a revocable living trust. You can put all of your important assets and property into a trust, including real estate, vehicles and bank accounts. With a revocable trust, you can consistently manage your assets until your designated trustee takes over upon your death. At this time, the trustee can transfer the assets to your beneficiaries without dealing with probate court.

2. Joint ownership

If you co-own property with someone else and he or she has the right of survivorship, the property will automatically remain in his or her hands when you die. No probate is necessary for transferring property in this case. In California, you can establish joint ownership through joint tenancy or community property with right of survivorship.

3. Payable-on-death (POD) account

Another effective way to avoid probate is by adding a POD designation for your bank accounts. Designating a POD beneficiary does not affect your ability to control your money while you are alive. In fact, the beneficiary has no rights to your money. You can even spend it as much as you want. Upon your death, however, the beneficiary can receive the money directly without going through probate.

Even if you do not take any of these steps to avoid probate, you can still make the process easier for your beneficiaries. There are certain probate shortcuts and simple procedures for smaller estates. If you have more questions about probate and want to know about other options, contact an estate planning lawyer.

 

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