Dying Without A Trust



Just what is probate and why do you want to avoid it?

People will probably tell you that probate has something to do with death.  They will further tell you that they hope to avoid both (probate and death).  We may not be able to help you avoid death, but we can certainly help you avoid probate.

Probate is the costly time-consuming process that requires:

  • Notifying the Court of a person's death.

  • An inventory of the person's property and appraisal of its value.

  • Paying the person's debts and taxes.

  • Proving to the Court the validity of the person's Last Will and Testament.

  • Waiting to distribute the remainder of that person's property.

It doesn't really make a difference if a person dies and does not, in fact, leave a Last Will and Testament.  The result will be that all of the probate steps listed above will simply occur normally; with the exception being that the deceased person's property (after probate) will be distributed to his family according to California law.

People often feel that having a Last Will and Testament is important for estate planning purposes.  The sole purpose of a Last Will and Testament is for you to state your wishes about the distribution of your property after your death and to nominate a "personal representative."  It will incur probate fees that could be avoided by replacing your Last Will and Testament with a Living Trust.  The Living Trust provides great flexibility during your lifetime as well as formal probate avoidance.