Probate, which is the legal process of dividing a person’s assets and paying debts after their death, isn’t as onerous in California as it is in some other states. However, it can still be complicated and lengthy. Santa Monica Trust and Probate Attorneys can guide a family through the probate process, making it less stressful. The following are some facts about probate in California and how it works in most cases:
The Probate Process in California
Probate isn’t always necessary. In fact, it can be avoided if assets are owned jointly by another person besides the deceased. Probate also isn’t necessary if the assets of an estate are worth less than $150,000. Setting up a trust is another way to avoid probate, more on that later. The basic probate process takes anywhere from six months to a year to complete and is headed up by the executor of the will. If there is no will present, the court will appoint an administrator of the estate. This person will file the will and a document called the “petition for probate.” This begins the process of probating the estate. After all the bills and taxes have been paid, the court closes the estate, allowing the executor to distribute all the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
Setting up a Trust in Santa Monica, California
A living trust is advantageous for a few reasons, one of these being it can keep an estate private by keeping it out of probate. The probate process is a public one, so in order to keep an estate completely private, a trust has to be set up prior to a person’s death. This living trust allows them to make all the decisions pertaining to their assets, which means a person can make specifications about their assets. For example, they can stipulate in their trust that a certain amount of money should be given to an heir on a specified birthday and not before.
When setting up a living trust, a trustee is appointed who will help oversee the assets of an estate prior to a person’s death. This allows a person to keep control of their assets, even if they become incapacitated before their death. In essence, a living trust ensures the control of an estate remains with a person before and after their death and protects their privacy throughout.
Setting up a Trust and Going Through Probate in California
If you want to set up a living trust or are dealing with a probate matter in Santa Monica, the trust and probate professionals at Mihell Law are ready to help. Call attorney Monica Mihell today to learn how she can assist you!