06 Jul A Will vs a Revocable Trust in California
Everyone should have a will designating who they would like to receive their assets, following their demise. In California, however, a will may not be the most efficient testamentary instrument. Even if a California resident has a will, if they own more than $150,000 in assets in their individual name, the estate must go through probate to receive their inheritance. The threshold is significantly lower if the individual owns real property in California. Assets held in a revocable trust are jointly owned, are held through a revocable transfer deed, or have a beneficiary named are not generally subject to probate.
In California, probates are public record. Probate can take a minimum of six months to a year and is often costly depending on the value of the assets owned by the deceased person at death. For this reason, many advisers recommend a revocable trust in California. A revocable trust is a legal arrangement. You transfer your assets to a trustee (yourself) to hold the assets for your benefit during your lifetime. At your death, the successor trustee will administer your estate according to your wishes. Generally, revocable trusts are private because they are not administered through the court system, and they are often cheaper and take a shorter time to administer than the probate process.
If you own real property in California, we highly recommend that you consider whether a revocable trust makes sense for you. To discuss your estate plan, and whether a revocable trust makes sense, please contact the Wealth Strategies Group at the Royse Law Firm at (650) 813-9700. Practice Leader David Spence (extension 211 or firstname.lastname@example.org), or Michael Zosky (extension 212 or email@example.com) are ready to help.