Jump to Navigation

Avoiding Probate

Sacramento Lawyer: 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 estate planning. As your attorney, I can work closely with your accountant or financial advisor to determine what estate planning instruments are appropriate for your situation.

Strategies for avoiding probate:

  • 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.
  • Establishing 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 re-titling 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 which have proper death beneficiary designations, such as life insurance, IRAs, qualified retirement plans and some annuities avoid the probate process as well.

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

Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law

My Sacramento law practice, Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law, focuses on wills, trusts and estate planning law in addition to business law and corporate defense services. My clients include professionals, government employees, small businesses, blue-collar workers and national corporations.