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How does a trust bypass the probate process in California?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Estate Planning

A trust bypasses the California probate process primarily because the ownership of the assets moves to the trust, not to an individual. When you create a trust, you transfer your assets into it and effectively change their ownership from your personal name to the trust’s name. The person who manages the trust is the trustee.

A trust operates privately and can transfer ownership of your assets more directly. Conversely, a will is contestable and becomes part of the public record through probate. However, creating a trust arrangement is much more complicated than writing a legally valid willThere are several types of trusts, but a revocable living trust provides the most thorough way to avoid probate.

Why choose a revocable living trust

Setting up a revocable living trust is similar to any other trust arrangement. The difference is that a revocable living trust is a specific type of trust you can amend or revoke as long as you are alive and competent. You can change your mind and update the trust as often as you want to account for all the changes to your estate.

Furthermore, while living, you can act as the trustee and beneficiary of a revocable living trust to maintain control over your assets, even though, technically, the trust owns them. You retain the ability to change or cancel the trust at any time before your death.

When you pass away, your assets no longer have to go through probate because the trust already owns them. Instead, the successor trustee distributes your assets according to the instructions in the trust.

Protecting your family with a revocable living trust

Probate can be expensive, and the lack of privacy can be concerning for some families. In California, the probate process can take several months to years. For family members who are grieving, the formalities and demands of the probate process can harden an already difficult time. By avoiding probate, your beneficiaries can save significant time and money.

Through a revocable living trust, you can continue to protect your best interests and that of your loved ones.