Strategies For Avoiding Probate

In California, everybody can avoid probate. Probate is a long, public and expensive process. When a person dies without a properly designed estate plan, the task of estate administration and distributing assets falls to the probate court. The key to avoiding probate is careful attention to comprehensive estate planning. As your attorney, I can work closely with your accountant or financial adviser to determine what estate planning instruments are appropriate for your situation.

Methods We Provide For Avoiding Probate

Probate can be time-consuming and expensive. Therefore, at Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law, I can put together the right strategy to help you avoid probate. Some such methods include:

  • A clearly worded will that addresses your current situation. You should update your will in the event of marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or a change in the situation of an heir.
  • Creation of trusts. Certain assets, including a home, savings and investments, transferred into living trusts (revocable or inter vivos trusts) do not pass through probate upon your death. Your lawyer can tell you whether your estate is large enough to benefit from creating a trust.
  • Joint tenancy and retitling of assets. If you add your spouse or children to the title of your home and bank account as co-owners, the property avoids probate.
  • Assets that have proper death beneficiary designations. This can include life insurance, IRAs, qualified retirement plans and some annuities to avoid the probate process as well.

Understanding All Of Your Estate Planning Options

If you would like to discuss strategies for avoiding probate or have another question about my firm, please contact my office by calling 916-248-4465 or email my Sacramento, California, office to arrange for a consultation. As your lawyer, I will see that you clearly understand the implications of every element of your estate plan.