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July 4, 2024

Is Your Estate Prepared to Avoid Probate?

Probate is the legal process for reviewing, managing, and distributing someone’s estate after they die. The purpose of probate is to verify the validity of your estate plan. It includes reviewing the legitimacy of wills, handling any outstanding debts and taxes, appraising property values, and dividing assets among heirs.

The probate process is in place to protect your estate and prevent fraud after your death. However, this legal proceeding doesn’t look the same for everyone. If you die with or without a will and your estate is over about $185,000, all your assets will go through probate.

Living trusts avoid probate, but if you have a retirement account, life insurance policy, or other assets and you fail to name a beneficiary, that asset may have to go through probate. Likewise, if you have a living trust and your assets aren’t titled properly, you could end up in probate court with a Heggstad Petition to confirm the asset as belonging in the trust.

In California, probate is expensive. With the median-priced home at $1 million, a probate could easily exceed $50,000. Give me a call if you want to avoid probate.

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