Is it Possible to Avoid Probate?
Probate is the legal process that addresses how to pay the debt of a deceased individual and distribute their property and assets. In some cases, the deceased person may have had a will in place, but in other situations, they may have passed away intestate, which means they did not have a will.
In any case, the probate process can be extremely lengthy, confusing, and costly. It is no wonder that many individuals will do everything possible to try and side-step the probate process entirely. Fortunately, the State of California has several legal mechanisms in place to avoid probate. The experienced Santa Ana, California probate lawyers at the Law Offices of Roshni T. Desai can explore all of your legal options with you – including any alternative to the probate process that may be applicable to your unique circumstances.
Having a Living Trust in Place
One legal way of avoiding the probate process is to have a living trust in place. After creating the trust document, you can then transfer trust property (including bank accounts, real property, or vehicles) to yourself as trustee. At that point, any and all property that is the subject of the trust will be covered under the trust terms. When you pass away, the successor trustee of the property can then avoid probate court litigation and transfer the property to individuals who have been designated as beneficiaries under the trust.
Joint Ownership Over Real and Personal Property
Joint tenancy and other types of joint ownership over real property contain a right of survivorship. This means that if one of the joint property owners passes away, then the property automatically passes to the surviving owner. This happens automatically, without the need for probate.
Since California is a community property state, marital assets and other forms of community property that are held with a right of survivorship automatically pass to a surviving partner or spouse once the other partner/spouse passes away.
Transfer on Death Deeds (Real Estate) and Transfer on Death Vehicle Registrations
In the State of California, individuals can leave real estate to a beneficiary via a transfer-on-death deed. In fact, these deeds are sometimes referred to as ‘beneficiary deeds.’ Although the deed is recorded and signed at the present time, the deed does not become effective until the transferor passes away.
Similarly, a transfer-on-death vehicle registration passes a motor vehicle’s title to a loved one upon the decedent’s death. In both cases, no probate process is required for the transfer to be effective.
Call a Santa Ana, California Probate Lawyer Today
There is a general consensus among many Californians that the probate process can be extremely complex, tedious, and time-consuming. The knowledgeable legal team at the Law Offices of Roshni T. Desai can help you explore some alternatives. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Santa Ana, California probate attorney, please call us at 714.694.1200 or contact us online today to learn more about how we can assist.