Why do I need a trust?

A trust allows your estate to remain private from the public record unlike a will which becomes part of the public record in a probate proceeding.

A trust is more efficient at distributing or managing your property than a court.  Your trust can settle your estate in as little as three months after your death.  Whereas a probate proceeding can take between nine months and two years.  Your trust should be administered according to the needs of your loved ones rather than the needs of a court calendar.

A trust can save a tremendous amount of money by avoiding probate. California has some of the highest probate attorney fees, which start at four percent (4%) of the first one hundred, thousand dollars ($100,000) of the gross probate estate and can easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars.

Probate Avoidance
A trust can distribute or manage your estate without court supervision known as probate.  This can save time, money, and provide flexibility while your trust cares for your loved ones.

Asset Protection
A trust can protect your property from creditors.  A trust can also protect the property you give to your loved ones from their creditors.

Protecting Yourself
In the event your become sick or incapacitated, your trust will ensure that your property is used for your benefit.

Protecting Your Loved Ones
A trust can be set up to protect your children, your pets, and even your parents.

Can I avoid probate without a trust?

Yes, you may qualify for a simplified probate that is much less expensive than regular probate, or the property may not need probate.

A surviving spouse may use a Spousal Property Petition to avoid probate.
A Spousal Property Petition is a way to transfer or confirm property to a surviving spouse without a full probate proceeding. It can usually be done with only one hearing in the court. 

Your personal and real property is worth one hundred-fifty, thousand dollars ($150,000) or less.
Your personal property can be distributed to your heirs (or the beneficiaries named in your Will) by using a declaration. This method is called the Section 13100 Procedure.  This procedure has certain rules.  You should not rely on this procedure without learning more about it's limitations.  To read more about the law on this topic, see Probate Code Section 13100. or review the self-help section on your local superior court's website. 

Your real property (land or buildings) in California is worth twenty, thousand dollars ($20,000) or less.
The real property can be transferred without probate by using an Affidavit Re: Real Property of Small Value ($20,000 or Less).

Property held in Joint Tenancy
Property that is held in Joint Tenancy may not need probate.  A surviving tenant should take the property without court supervision.

Timothy Follett Copyright

Do I have an estate?

Yes, you have an estate.  This is one of the most frequent questions we encounter.  Some people fail to plan their estate because they believe they do not have an estate.  Legally, an estate is anything you own at the time of your death.  Everyone has an estate.


(805) 669-7009


Timo​thy Follett, Attorney at Law