In the state of California, if you own real property or otherwise have assets over $100,000.00, your estate (when you pass away) will have to go through probate court unless you have a living trust. If you die without a will or trust, your property will go to your heirs according to law; if you want your property distributed other than according to law, then you must specify your wishes in a will or trust.
In order to avoid probate court, you must create a living trust; this is used to transfer your property to another entity (ie. the trust), so that the property will not be in your estate when you pass. Then according to the trust, your property is distributed to the named beneficiaries by the successor trustee. Besides saving the time and inconvenience of probate court, you will also save substantial attorney fees. In an estate worth $500,000.00, the attorney fees would be $13,000.00 and the court required expenses will be around another $10,000.00. There may also be tax savings for larger estates.
Please give us a call at 818.994.8234 for further inquiries about creating a living trust.