Probably not. You worked hard for decades in California to make sure your loved ones would be safe and sheltered when you passed away. You want to decide for yourself whom your money goes to. You certainly don't want it to be wasted and vanish into thin air.


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Why is estate planning necessary?

If you do not engage in estate planning prior to your death, a probate judge will appoint an estate administrator to ensure that all your creditors are satisfied first and then distribute whatever remains of your assets and personal belongings to your heirs based on a government enacted statute. Not only is the process public, but it also may take several years. During these several years, your estate may be depleted by all the expenses related to probate: court fees, probate referees, attorney fees and the ongoing mortgage payments, real estate maintenance, property taxes, and more. You probably don't want to leave your surviving loved ones to watch helplessly as others control the process, take their time and help themselves.

You cannot plan your own death, but you can plan what will happen if you die.

How can you avoid probate?

There are many tools available to avoid probate in California. There are tools to help avoid paying fees and taxes or selling assets at discount prices. There are also tools to prevent total strangers from making all the important decisions. A few of these tools are:

  • Have a joint ownership;
  • Make gifts;
  • Name beneficiaries in contracts;
  • Use trusts;
  • Use a durable power of attorney;
  • Name an executor;
  • Designate a health care agent;
  • Open a transfer-on-death account.

Estate planning is easy and costs less if you do it right away.

La Crescenta-based attorney Jeffrey Field is the California probate and estate planning attorney best positioned to answer all your questions regarding estate planning and probate law. As a Certified Tax Coach and Certified Financial Planner® and a former CFO (chief financial officer), accountant and stockbroker, Jeff Field has a unique understanding of the complexities of asset protection and management, as well as of the California probate law.

Call attorney Jeffrey Field at 818 369-7900 or send us an email for a FREE consultation.