The lawyers of Yee Law Group are practiced at guiding clients through the probate process, and in some cases, making it possible for them to avoid it. Many people who have not been through the probate process have questions and concerns. We offer a free initial consultation to anyone considering their estate planning options. Our attorneys are available at 916-927-9001.
Wills and Probate
To understand the probate process, it’s first necessary to understand the relationship between probate and wills.
- A person can use a will to specify who will receive their assets.
- For assets that do not allow one to designate a beneficiary, (such as real estate and bank accounts) the beneficiary must be named in the will.
- Some types of assets can be transferred directly to a beneficiary upon the passing of the original owner without them being named in a will. For example, investment accounts or IRAs. Most often, these types of assets can avoid probate and the associated additional costs, including taxes.
Any asset that is distributed through a will must go through the probate process.
Probate is the legal process that occurs after a person passes away and their estate is settled. This is true regardless of whether or not the person had a will. Each state has its own laws regarding the probate process. One of our attorneys at Yee Law Group may review the probate process with you and explain how the law may affect your particular situation. Here are a few points about probate to keep in mind:
- The probate process is part of the public record, so the details will not kept private or secret.
- Assets that can be transferred directly to a beneficiary are rarely included in the probate process.
The probate process can be lengthy and costly. On behalf of their future heirs, many people work with a probate attorney to plan their estate. A common goal is to minimize what is included in the probate process. One way to avoid probate is to have an attorney create a revocable living trust on your behalf.
A Revocable Living Trust
A living trust is created when a person is of sound mind and body. Though it is similar to a will, a living trust fulfills a number of other objectives. They are primarily intended to allow people to avoid probate altogether. As a result, it offers several advantages:
- After your death, your valuable property that you included in the trust will not be included in your probate estate. (That is not to say that it is excluded from federal taxes.) This is because the trust you created represents you but is not considered an individual, and therefore is excluded from the probate process.
- After your death, the trustee you designated for your living trust can transfer that trust property to those you named as beneficiaries. As a result, that property will not be included in the probate process. This is a much faster, simpler, and less costly alternative to designating beneficiaries of your property in a will.
If you would like to know more about the probate process and learn about the options for estate planning, call us at 916-927-9001. An attorney from Yee Law Group may be able to answer your questions about probate and address any concerns.