If you want to protect your loved ones from a lengthy probate process in California, start the preparation process early. The probate process can drag on for quite a while. This is difficult for many families because those receiving an inheritance won’t have access to much-needed funds during this time. Here are three steps that may help you reduce the amount of time that your estate is in probate.
Create a living trust
Many people have wills, but those don’t always stop the probate process. In fact, wills often do go through the probate process. Living trusts are different, however. A living trust is an estate planning tool that allows loved ones to access assets as soon as you pass away. And you can continue accessing your assets while you’re alive.
Give your assets away
If you want to help your loved ones avoid a lengthy and stressful probate process, you can gift your assets before you pass. This process helps avoid wills, trusts and the probate process.
And your loved ones can enjoy your gifts while you’re still alive. As an added benefit, giving away your assets before you pass can help reduce the value of your estate, which can also reduce the amount of taxes that your loved ones will pay.
Organize your documents
Organization plays a role in preventing a lengthy probate case. If your loved ones can’t find all your documents, your estate can end up in probate court. Some documents to organize include your estate plan, life insurance policies and any amendments you’ve made.
The probate process doesn’t need to turn into a lengthy ordeal. There are steps to help alleviate stress and improve the process.