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Avoid probate with these simple estate planning tips

Like every loving parent, you definitely want to pass on a little something to your children or the people you care about. You save to make life a little easier for the people you love. The last thing you want is to have a portion of your hard-earned money going to their government in the form of probate fees. Nor do you want your loved ones to wait for months, or even years, to receive their inheritance.

Probate is the court-supervised process of distributing a deceased person’s assets to their designated beneficiaries. Unfortunately, there is nothing straightforward about probate – it is a process you want to save your loved ones from going through entirely. Fortunately, there are several ways you can avoid probate in California. Here are some of them:

Setting up a living trust
You can avoid a California probate process by setting up a living trust. You can place your assets “in trust” and appoint a trustee to manage them on behalf of your designated beneficiaries. Better still, you can create a living trust for just about every asset you own including real estate, cars, bank and retirement accounts. You can even include assets of sentimental value, like jewelry. Upon your passing, the trustee will transfer your assets to your heirs without having to go through the probate process.

Joint tenancy ownership with survivorship rights
California has multiple provisions for holding title to real property. You can avoid probate proceedings by holding property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. This way, should one party in the tenancy pass on, the other party will automatically assume ownership of the property in question.

When a person passes on, accessing their assets for distribution to the intended beneficiaries may require probate. Since probate is expensive and time-consuming, avoiding it becomes an essential goal for most people during their estate planning process .