If you are trying to decide what estate planning instruments you need in order to meet your goals and to avoid the cost of probate, you might want to look into the revocable trust. A revocable trust is the primary testamentary transfer device used by professional estate planners in California. A revocable trust can be used not only to manage your property during your lifetime, but it also serves to distribute your assets upon your passing.
There are several key advantages of a trust. First, it avoids probate. Probate is the court-supervised process of distributing a deceased person’s assets according to their will or California intestacy law. This process can sometimes take over 6 months to complete and can be expensive. For example, the estate of a person with only a will operating to distribute their assets after death would have to carry the costs associated with providing and preparing the initial petition, petitions for instructions, and the petition for final distribution. In addition, costly court hearings to discuss creditor (and other) issues may be required.
Second, a trust can help to maintain confidentiality regarding your assets. Probate proceedings are a part of the public record. This means that anyone is able to access the information in the record regarding your assets and their distribution. If privacy is important to you, a trust can help you achieve greater (but not necessarily complete) confidentiality.
Third, a trust also serves property management functions during your lifetime. With a trust in place, there is no need to incur the costs and inefficiency associated with a formal conservatorship in the event of your lifetime disability or incapacity. In addition, a trust is useful as it provides for long-term continuity for handling your assets.
For more information about wills and trusts, please contact our San Jose estate planning lawyers at Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri for more information. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.