The laws of California provide a court process by which all estates belonging to deceased persons are distributed: probate. It is a long and difficult process, and can often aggravate for the surviving family an already painful situation. The good news is, a living trust can allow one’s estate to avoid this process entirely. However, if you still doubt as to the wisdom of avoiding probate, here are four things to consider:
Probate is incredibly expensive. It will cost a minimum $80,000 for a gross estate of $1,000,000. Taking this estate as an example, the majority of those $1,000,000 would likely be invested in the deceased person’s home, and, sadly, family members are often forced to sell that home in order to pay these fees. The cost of a living trust, on the other hand, is much lower as it constitutes simply the creation and signing of the document, and perhaps a later fee if one desires the assistance of a lawyer in distributing the trust.
Probate is a long process, lasting typically around two years, but often much longer, even up to 10 years. This is a large amount of time in comparison to the weeks it may take to create a trust, and the few months it may take to distribute it.
The stress and frustrations of probate often lead to tension in the family, which can be the cause of disputes. This can be entirely avoided with a trust which avoids the major difficulties of probate, and provides clear instructions as to estate distribution.
When property goes through probate it must pass through the hands of the court. This means that, in the end, it is the court’s decision how and to whom the property will be distributed. Also, probate is a public proceeding, and anyone who feels they have a claim to the property may present their case before the court. This can also affect the court’s decision. The living trust, however, is private and under the complete control of the instructions of the grantor, which are instructions the trustee is legally obligated to fulfill.
Contact the lawyers at Celaya Law in Napa today and start discuss your options and next steps.