• Blog >
  • How a Living Trust Can Help Your Estate Avoid Probate
Signing Living Trust to Avoid Probate

How a Living Trust Can Help Your Estate Avoid Probate

Making a will is often the core part of estate planning, but it is not the only option. There are other choices that might be better suited to your needs and preferences. This may include your desire to transfer wealth to intended beneficiaries without the expense, delay and potential complications of probate. A living trust can be a useful tool for achieving that goal.

Probate is the court process for distributing a decedent’s estate to the people entitled to share in it. If you have executed a will, it must go through probate in order for it to have legal effect. The will must be authenticated to ensure its validity. Then an executor is appointed, who must comply with multiple rules and restrictions in managing and distributing your estate. In California, probate can take between nine and 18 months. Additionally, if contests to the will are raised or if other significant issues arise, probate can take over two years to complete.

A living trust is a way you can structure your estate to avoid probate. Also known as a revocable trust, it is a device for transferring property to named people or entities upon designated conditions. Any assets that you would include in a will — including real estate, money and investments — can be included in the trust. During your lifetime, you can serve as the trustee, which means you will still have access to and use of the assets. You can make changes to the trust as you see fit.

As part of setting up the trust, you will name a successor trustee, who upon your death or other triggering event will take control of the assets and distribute them according to the trust’s terms. This is done privately and usually without delay. There is no probate or other court process involved unless the trust or its administration by the trustee is challenged in a lawsuit, which is rare.

However, a living trust is not necessarily a simple venture. It is important that your trust is properly structured and managed. Even though you will name yourself as trustee, you will likely need guidance from a an investment advisor or accountant in making investments that preserve and enhance the trust’s value. Choosing a successor trustee and crafting the instructions they must follow also require careful consideration. An experienced California estate planning attorney will be able to create a living trust that meets all legal requirements and that is best suited to your present and future expectations.

At Penrose Chun & Gorman LLP, we advise people throughout Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito and Santa Clara Counties on estate planning strategies, including the establishment of living trusts. To learn more about how we can assist you, call us at 831-515-3344 or contact us online.

Quick Contact

Please fill out the form below and our attorney will contact you.

!
!
!

Choose a location to review

Penrose Chun & Gorman LLP locations:

Reviews & Ratings

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I would absolutely recommend without a doubt. Stephen Penrose has helped me with a very complicated legal matter, End up in my favor. He thoroughly explains everything and I feel that he is a very genuine and honest person. Not something yo...
    Show More

    — John Stratton

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I have worked with Steven Penrose on several occasions and he is EXCELLENT! He is extremely smart, an expert on all aspects of trusts and estate planning, open minded, creative, and easy to work with. He helped me plan my personal estate a...
    Show More

    — Douglas Sunde

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    I don’t enjoy dealing with lawyers as I always feel I’m over my head. But Steven Penrose and his staff give me explicit instructions along the way, walking me through this personal ordeal, and left me feeling confident that I was doing the ...
    Show More

    — Client

  • avvo
    5.0/5.0

    I was referred to Mr.Penrose by another attorney. My case was concerned with a care giver agreement that I considered not truthful. With his great knowledge and investigative skills, Mr.Penrose found that the document had time parameters to...
    Show More

    — Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Mr.Edward Chun is another attorney that deserves a 6th star. His knowledge concerning a sale of a real property that was in contention was an area I felt he handled extremely well. He answered my questions when I needed clarification. If an...
    Show More

    — Client