Friday, March 29, 2013

Avoiding Probate In California

California probate law governs estate matters when a family member or loved one passes away. Probate laws insure that creditors are paid and that assets are properly distributed to the descendants, or "heirs," of the deceased's estate. Probate is a long and expensive process, however probate can be avoided through a carefully designed estate plan.

Methods Of Avoiding Probate

Anyone can avoid probate if plans are made ahead of time. Among the methods of avoiding probate are the following:

* Living trusts. Certain assets, such as a home, savings, and investments, can be transferred into living trusts that do not pass through probate upon death. The trust property is not part of your estate because title to the assets is transferred to the trust. A trustee has legal control over the trust property and is bound by fiduciary duty to exercise that legal control for the benefit of the beneficiaries named in the trust. After your death, the trustee can quickly transfer the trust property to the beneficiaries you have selected, without probate. Living trusts are popular and effective because:

1. they are usually administered informally outside of the court
2. they are more flexible in resolving beneficiary disputes without court involvement
3. assets can be distributed faster than probate (usually in about 5 months after death)
4. they are less expensive to administer than probate matters
5. they are effective during periods of incapacity as well as at death
6. they are easily created.

* Joint tenancy. Assets are not probated if they are owned by two or more people, termed "joint tenants" or similar wording. When a joint tenant dies, the other joint tenant(s) take 100 percent ownership of the asset. A joint tenancy takes priority over the provisions of a will or trust.
* Small estates. Under the California Probate Code, estates of less than $100,000 are exempt from probate. In determining this amount, some assets are not considered probate assets, such as living trusts, life insurance, IRAs, 401Ks, and assets held in joint tenancy. The assets in estates valued less than $100,000 are turned over to the executor of the will and distributed according to the will, outside of probate. If there is no will, assets are distributed to the deceased's nearest relatives (under rules of intestate succession).
* Spousal property petition. The spouse of a deceased person can file a spousal property petition with the court to change ownership of the deceased's assets to the surviving spouse. This procedure is a simplified version of probate, which takes considerably less time and expense than regular probate.
* Death benefit assets. Certain assets which have death beneficiary designations avoid probate. These types of assets include life insurance, IRAs, qualified retirement plans and some annuities.

Approved Cash Advance

If you are the beneficiary of a living trust, joint tenancy, or other estate plan that was set up to avoid probate, Approved Cash Advance can provide you with the funds you need now. Although much quicker than probate proceedings, many of these avoidance methods can still take time.

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