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Probate Avoidance

Riverside Probate Attorney

Probate is the court-supervised process of administering an estate and transferring the decedent’s assets pursuant to the directions set forth in a will. In California, probate can be a lengthy and expensive process; therefore, there are several steps that people can take to avoid probate court altogether. For example, when the deceased person owns assets in joint tenancy with another person, or in a living trust, or as survivorship community property with their spouse, then those assets won’t pass through probate. The same goes for payable-on-death accounts and assets that are held in a revocable living trust.

A person’s estate includes personal property, bank accounts, investments, artwork, collectibles, jewelry, real estate and automobiles etc. If a person had a written will at the time of death, it is said that he or she died testate. When there is no will, it is said that the person died intestate. The probate court oversees cases whether the person died testate or intestate.

If there is a will, the probate court will make sure the will is valid and then the property will be distributed according to the directions in the will. The probate court will not be involved with bank accounts with two people in joint tenancy, or money paid under an insurance policy since it’s not usually part of the estate. Currently, estates worth $150,000 or more are subject to probate proceedings in the state of California.

Understanding Probate in California

In the California courts, probate cases tend to move very slowly since there are many steps involved such as ensuring creditors are paid, that property is identified, and title to assets are transferred correctly. Fortunately, probate avoidance is easy if you plan ahead. The benefits of probate avoidance include minimizing taxes on your estate and lowering the costs of estate administration, resulting in less frustration for your family members. Among the workable methods of avoiding probate include setting up living trusts, joint tenancy, payable-on-death-accounts, spousal property petitions, and small estate affidavits.

At Sandoval Legacy Group, a Division of Holstrom, Block & Parke APLC, we have more than 30 years of collective experience helping our clients avoid probate. Our lead attorney Dennis M. Sandoval is AV Preeminent® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and he is included in California’s selection of Super Lawyers®, which are both direct indicators of his professional competence and legal ability. For guidance with your estate planning or probate issue, please contact our firm today!

10-Year Super Lawyers selection | Dennis M. Sandoval, Managing Partner, Sandoval Legacy Group
2024 Super Lawyers selection | Dennis M. Sandoval, Managing Partner, Sandoval Legacy Group
Academy of Special Needs Planners | Dennis M. Sandoval
Special Needs Alliance | Member since 2024
Riverside County Bar Association | Dennis M. Sandoval

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