If you are actively involved in estate planning in California, you may be concerned about your estate being subject to probate. Probate is a very long and often expensive process during which your estate is valued and the validity of your will is determined. While it isn’t always possible to avoid probate, the following tips can reduce the chances of it occurring.
According to TheBalance.com, there are a number of steps you can take to hopefully prevent your estate entering into probate. For instance, beneficiary designations can be exceedingly helpful for sidestepping probate. For financial accounts (such as life insurance or retirement accounts), you can designate beneficiaries through a document known as a payable on death account. Under certain circumstances you may also be able to transfer real estate via a life estate deed, although restrictions do apply to real estate.
You can also utilize a revocable living trust. This document offers coverage from the moment it’s created to until you are deceased (unlike a will, which only goes into effect upon one’s death). After creating a trust, your assets and property must be re-titled with the name of the trust in order for them to be covered. You must also decide on a trustee, who will oversee the trust and dispersal of assets and property after you die.
You can also add a joint-owner to things like financial accountants or property, although this option is not for everyone. For instance, federal tax amounts can increase in this case, which can be quite a burden financially. Additionally, when a joint-owner of your assets dies he or she may be entitled to 50 percent of your assets or property.