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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

Why may people want to avoid probate and how can they do so?

Whether or not their estate will go through probate may not be a huge concern for some California residents, since they will not be around to see how the process affects the disposition of their wealth and assets. However, a Californian who wants to take proactive steps to protect their wealth and the inheritances of their loved ones should understand why avoiding probate this is a good idea. This post will discuss why a person should work to keep their estate out of probate and how that goal may be achieved.

Probate is the legal process of settling a decedent's debts, paying their beneficiaries and ensuring that all of their assets have been dealt with properly. Probate can take a long time and depending upon the issues that affect the estate can cost an estate a lot of money. As a result, a person whose estate is probated may not end up bequeathing as much wealth to their loved ones as they intended because of the costs of the probate process.

A strong estate plan and plenty of foresight can help a person keep their wealth from being reduced in probate. For example, a person may choose to own their property jointly with a spouse or a child and give that survivor rights of survivorship in their portion of the property. In such an arrangement, the property would become that of the survivor without going through probate after the decedent passed on.

Additionally, many accounts may be set up with POD clauses, which stand for "payable on death." That means that when the holder of the account dies, the proceeds of it automatically go to a named beneficiary and do not have to be probated.

Lifetime gifts as well as the use of estate planning tools like trusts can help individuals avoid the hassle and costs of probate. Now is a good time for readers to consider executing an estate plan, in order to protect their future wealth and ensure that their loved ones benefit when the estate holders are gone.

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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.

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