Probate Alternatives in Estate Planning in California – Webinar


Learn to identify ways for your clients to avoid probate to reduce delays and expenses.

Many estate planning clients in California are rightfully wary of having their estate pass through probate. Probate is the time consuming and expensive administration of a decedents estate. In California, the overburdened courts can delay the distribution of a decedents assets by a year or more, and the beneficiaries needlessly pay tens of thousands of dollars in filing and administrative fees.

How can we provide value to our clients in helping them avoid these draconian delays and expenses?

This material will allow California based practitioners to identify ways for their clients to avoid probate through various strategies, providing critical guidance and value to their clients in the form of reducing unnecessary delays and expenses in the administration of estates. This information is valuable not only to California based estate planning practitioners, but also for general practitioners.

Learning Objectives
  • You will be able to describe to your clients the benefit of setting up a trust.
  • You will be able to identify various strategies to avoid probate.
  • You will be able to discuss with your estate planning clients the drawbacks of having an estate pass through probate.
  • You will be able to explain and advise your clients on the benefits and limitations of various probate avoidance plans.

Table of Contents

What Is Probate, and Why Do I Want to Avoid It Like the Plague?
  • Discussion of Probate Process
  • Discussion of Probate Time-Frame and Fees
Examples of Estates Possibly Triggering Probate
  • Decedent Left No Will (Intestate)
  • Decedent Only Left a Will
Ways to Avoid Probate in California
  • Give It Away
  • Yearly Gift-Tax Exclusion of $14,000
  • Gifting of Property for Medi-Cal Planning
  • Have a Small Estate
  • Personal Property Under $150,000
  • Real Estate Under $50,000
  • Co-Own Property (Joint Tenancy or Community Property)
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Spousal Property Petitions
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Beneficiary Designations
  • Retirement Accounts
  • Life Insurance
  • 401(k)s
  • 403(b)s
  • Pay-On-Death (POD)/Transfer-On-Death (TOD) Designations
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Trusts (Living Trusts, Revocable Trusts)
  • Legal Mechanism to Avoid Probate
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Heggstad Petitions
  • Mechanism to Avoid Probate in Cases in Which Trust Was Not Fully Funded
  • Additional Resources for the California Practitioner
  • CEB Estate Planning Treatise
  • LexisNexis Drafting California Wills and Trust