estate planning

Living Trust or Will?

If you own a home in California, you'll need a living trust to avoid probate.


When you put together your estate plan, your first decision will be what is the best document to get your assets to your loved ones. Your options are a living trust or a will.

With a living trust your estate will not go through probate when you pass away.

In California, probate is bad. It is an expensive court proceeding that usually takes a year or longer.

If you have a living trust and transfer title of your probatable assets to the trust, your family can avoid probate and avoid the expense and hassles of probate.

What are probatable assets? Real estate worth more than $55,425 and bank accounts and investments accounts with a total value of more than $184,500. Retirement plans, such as IRAs and 401ks and life insurance don't go through probate if you have named a beneficiary.

If you don't have probatable assets - you rent your home and you don't have big bank accounts, then a will should get your assets to your loved ones without probate.

But if you own a home in California, your estate will go through probate and therefore, you will want a living trust.

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