Many clients find Probate Administration to be emotionally difficult and want to take measures to avoid it with their own estate. The best way to avoid Probate is with an estate plan done by an experienced Estate Planning Attorney.
Trusts, direct beneficiaries, and other forms of ownership will avoid Probate. We can help make sure that the tool you select is the best for you. We see a lot of self-help documents or those drafted by non-attorneys where the Probate-avoidance steps taken failed to account for tax impacts, public benefits eligibility, family dynamics, and other considerations. Any one of these could be more costly than a Probate fee. Additional information about your options can be found in the Estate Planning section of our website.
If the property owner is already deceased, we can often still find alternatives to a formal Probate. Some property may pass by “non-Probate” transfers such as joint tenancy, in Trust, or by direct beneficiary designation. For other estates with fewer assets or surviving spouses and community property, “Summary Probate proceedings” may be available.
There are several types of “Summary Probate proceedings” under California law, and the exceptions are detailed. We would be pleased to analyze any estate and tell you if you are eligible for a Summary Probate. If so, you can save substantial time and expense. Make sure you have the Estate Planning documents you need before it’s too late. Check out our Estate Planning preparedness checklist here: