If you’re planning out your estate, you may have likely heard the term “probate”. You’ve probably also heard that probate is something you want to avoid. There are a couple of reasons why you’d want to avoid probate. The probate process can be expensive, as there are fees that will have to be paid. In addition, your estate may be used to pay for these costs, which could mean your surviving family will get a smaller amount from your estate than initially expected.
Probate also places control in the hands of a judge. The judge will decide how assets are distributed, which could mean that someone could receive your assets without your consent. If you’re interested in protecting your estate, here are three ways you can avoid probate.
- Gifting: You can transfer property to others so as to avoid owning property at the time of your death. A lifetime gift can prevent specific assets from going through the probate process. Keep in mind that there will be a responsibility to pay any income or gift tax that is charged on the gift. In addition, the gift isn’t returnable.
- Real Property by Right of Survivorship: The California law allows property owners to name who will succeed their property upon their death. Also, two people can hold the title to an asset in “joint tenancy”.
- Spouses and Community Property with Right of Survivorship: Spouses can also avoid probate by holding title to real property. Unlike joint tenancy, community property that is not designated as “by right of survivorship,” does not pass by survivorship. If this is the case, at the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse can get his or her half of the community property.
Still not sure if your estate will be able to avoid probate costs? Get in contact with the estate planning lawyers at Temmerman, Cilley, & Kolhmann, LLP. We can help you understand the probate process and offer other legal options to protect your estate against probate costs. Schedule a free consultation with us today.