In California you can avoid probate and the associated court fees by executing a valid will, creating a valid trust, entering into a joint tenancy, or signing a pay-on-death clause naming a beneficiary.
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Avoiding probate can be done in a number of ways and should be considered to avoid the costs of probating your estate.
Avoiding probate can be done by entering into a joint tenancy. This is often done by married couples who have purchased a home. Once entered into, upon the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse gains an entire interest in real property and may file a spousal petition to cause a transfer of the title to that property into their name alone.
Community Property Interest
Any and all property created during marriage is community property and upon the death of one spouse, the other spouse is eligible to receive all interests in community property unless the decedent has devised their interest to another beneficiary.
Create a Valid Will
A valid Will, executed by the deceased spouse, leaving their entire interest to the property to the surviving spouse is another method to avoiding probate of your estate. Creating a will allows you to control who is to benefit from your estate and what asset they are to receive. It gives you the power to determine who will receive money and the amount they are to receive. You can also designate a person to receive a personal memento, an entity to take possession of property which is will be presently held in another’s name, or conditions which must be met for a bequest is delivered.
Create a Valid Trust
Creating a trust allows you to control the distribution of your assets much in the same way as a Will but, you gain the additionally advantage of avoiding probate and fees associated with the probate process. The probate petition that is filed with the court for the deceased is avoided if the majority of that person’s estate is held in a trust. Real property held in trust will require a filing with the county recorder’s office where the property is located to remove the deceased person’s name from the title.
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