There's a lot to see here. So, take your time, look around, and learn about the benefits of setting up your Estate Plan.
Generally, if you die without a will, trust, or other provision for the distribution of your money and property, that money and property will be distributed according to California law. This is a complicated process, but essentially the state will determine who gets the property based on their relationship to you.
When a person has the legal right to inherit personal property, like money in a bank account, and the estate is worth $166,250.00 or less, they may NOT have to go to court.
To transfer or inherit property (valued over $166,250) after someone dies (with or without a will), you may have go to court through a process called probate. Dealing with the courts and the property of someone who has died can be very complicated without guidance. It is not always easy to tell whether you need to go to court or qualify to use a different procedure. There are certain exceptions that may allow for transfer of property without court intervention. One example is transfer of real property where co-owners have rights of survivorship.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.
A living trust allows you to control your assets (your money and property) while you are still alive, and later have it distributed to people or organizations you select when you die.
A living trust agreement allows you to put your assets in a safe space known as your Trust. Your assets remain in your Trust per the terms you've established. A Trust gives legal ownership over an asset (like real property, money, etc.) to another party (known as the Trustee). The Trustee can then administer your property per the terms of your Trust. Because the Trustee has authority to administer the property in your Trust there is no need for court intervention known as Probate.
Probate means that there is a court case that deals with:
Probating an estate occurs so that the court may supervise the processes in which legal title of real property is transferred from the estate of the person who has died, also known as the decedent, to his or her beneficiaries.
PLEASE BE AWARE there are people (who are not licensed attorneys) that offer "Living Trusts" services and they may not be looking out for your best interests. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous actors working for “living trust mills” who will sell you an unnecessary living trust or use your financial information to sell you products that are less secure than your current investments.
Whether or not to create a trust is a personal decision and you should consider whether you need to hire an attorney or other estate planning professional. However, be aware that not every person offering to set up a trust is trustworthy. Before you make a decision to contract someone to create a trust for you, take 5 minutes to read the California Attorney General Alert on Living Trust Mills by visiting https://oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/living_trust_mills