Does Establishing a Trust Mean I Don’t Have to Go Through Probate?

In California, like many other states, every estate must go through at least some court procedures. This typically includes the admission of a will and the appointment of a personal representative to handle estate administration. If there is no will, formal court procedures may still be required to appoint a representative and to transfer assets through probate.

It can be misleading to assume that the simple establishment of an estate planning trust negates the need for probate. This is because those assets not inside the trust may still require the formal, expensive, and possibly time-consuming process of probate if they are titled in your name. These titled accounts require careful consideration and possibly even a conversation with your estate planning attorney. The most common assets associated with these problems include mineral interests, stock accounts, bank accounts, and real property.

These types of accounts are held in the name of one or more individuals and without your permission, the institution managing them is not able to update the name on your account. Many estates may still require probate, even if the majority of the person’s assets were placed into a trust.

Another big reason that this happens is because a person created a trust but failed to follow through on the second step of properly funding everything into the trust. This means that assets must be retitled to be truly owned by the trust. To discuss more aspects of probate and what might apply for your individual situation, set aside a time to meet with a qualified and experienced estate planning lawyer.

An estate planning attorney in CA‘s guidance can be very important in helping you navigate the legal process of setting up things for future management.

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