Distribution of your estate is an important facet to understand when you are devising your estate plan. You create documents to state your final wishes, but human action is required to bring your wishes to fruition after you pass away. In many cases, the probate process will enter the picture.
Certain types of asset transfers are subject to the probate process, and others are not. Probate property could be described as property that is in your direct, sole personal possession at the time of your passing.
Property that is held in joint tenancy would not be subject to the probate process, and life insurance proceeds would be distributed to the beneficiaries outside of probate. If you have a transfer on death account at a bank or a brokerage, the probate process would not be a factor either.
When it comes to probate property, there are some simplified procedures in California that can be utilized under some circumstances. If your spouse is inheriting assets from you, the transfer could take place through the utilization of a Spousal Property Petition, and the full probate process would not be required.
In addition to this, estates valued at less than $150,000 could potentially be transferred through the submission of a sworn affidavit, or the resources could alternately be transferred through a streamlined, simplified probate process. However if your estate includes real estate, probate will be required.
Full Probate Process
Now that we have provided some necessary background information, we can look at the question of time. The full probate process can be time-consuming. If the case is relatively straightforward and uncomplicated, probate can take somewhere between eight months to two (2) years in California.
This is not an extraordinarily long period of time, but when you are waiting for an inheritance that is rightfully yours, it can be a nuisance at best, and at worst, it could cause genuine hardships.
In addition, if family members cannot agree and challenge each other, it is not unusual for the process to take five years or longer.
It is possible to position your assets in a way that would facilitate probate avoidance after you pass away. One commonly used probate avoidance solution is the revocable living trust. You could convey property into a revocable living trust, and you would still control it while you are living. Since the trust is in fact revocable, you could dissolve it at any time and take back the resources.
After you pass away, assets in the trust would be transferred to the beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes, and the probate court would not be involved.
This is just one probate avoidance option, but there are others.
Free Report on the Probate Process
We have provided some basic information about probate in this blog post. If you would like to learn more, we have a valuable resource that you can access here on this website.
Our firm has prepared a free special report that puts the probate process under the microscope. To get your copy of the report, visit this page and follow the simple instructions: Los Angeles CA Probate Process.
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Learn more about California probate in this presentation.