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What is Probate

What Is Probate?

Essentially, probate is the most expensive, exhausting, heart-breaking, nerve-wracking, frustrating legal process of transferring property to loved ones upon your death, unless you have certain estate planning documents in place. Then, you may avoid probate.

Here are some basic tips to keep more of your estate in the hands of the people who matter most.

  1. Write a Living Trust. The most straightforward way to avoid probate is simply to create a living trust.
  2. Name beneficiaries on your retirement and bank accounts.
  3. Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship.

BENEFITS of having the right documents in place?

  • A Living Trust clearly sets forth in writing the beneficiaries to receive property and avoids probate, if properly funded.
  • Having a Last Will and Testament can name beneficiaries of an estate, appoint a legal guardian for minor children, appoint a conservator of the person, and can assign property to the trust that was not included in the trust.
  • When you have a Durable Power of Attorney you are appointing an agent when we are determined as no longer being able to make decisions regarding our money that would be in our best interest.
  • An Advanced Healthcare Directive appoints an agent for when we are determined as no longer being able to make decisions regarding our healthcare.

RISKS of not having the right documents in place?

  • Your real estate will go to probate, if not vested in your trust!
  • Double or triple the cost of probate fees based on the number of properties in other states.
  • Thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees will be paid by your estate.
  • Up to two years in probate court before property is distributed to heirs and beneficiaries;
  • Inheritance will be reduced by the cost of Probate;
  • No Power of Attorney? Then, you may need to file a Conservatorship petition with the probate court, which can be costly and takes months to obtain before your loved ones get the care they need.
This content is general knowledge and can be found on any bookshelf in a public library or bookstore in California.




Carol Ramirez
Carol Ramirez
Carol Ramirez, CLA, LDA, is a registered and bonded Legal Document Assistant providing affordable legal document preparation to consumers with the highest degree of confidentiality and professionalism.

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