Going through the death of a loved one is a very difficult process. Dealing with probate in Ventura can make it even harder. It is hard to deal with the loss of someone and also have to learn how to go through a complex court process.
This is why it’s important to know more about the probate law in Ventura before diving headfirst into it.
In this article, we’ll be walking you through what you need to know about probate as well as tips on how to avoid it altogether.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process beneficiaries must go through after the death of their loved one. Probate is reserved for those whose loved ones passed without going through proper estate planning. In the state of California, specifically for Ventura, probate is done in the Supreme Court where the decedent lived or where the decedent’s property is located.
Typically, probate can last up to 6 months, depending on the complexity of the estate.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is a process wherein you take inventory of your assets (properties, possessions, bank accounts, etc.) and list down who gets to receive each upon your death. Estate planning in Ventura involves more than just creating a final will, however. Aside from deciding who receives what after your death, your beneficiaries must also be informed and agree to the estate distribution.
How to Avoid Probate in Ventura
As mentioned earlier, probate can take up to half a year. This is a lot of time, and it can also be expensive. This is why many people want to find ways to avoid probate for their Ventura estate. This way, their loved ones won’t have to go through the complex process.
There are a number of ways to avoid the probate process.
In Ventura, you can create what is called a living trust so your loved ones can avoid probate in the future. Living trusts cover a multitude of things including real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, jewelry, etc.
In order to create a living trust, you first need to write a trust document. Your trust document will dictate who your trustee is after your death (also called a successor trustee). Then, you need to transfer ownership of your assets to yourself as the trustee of the trust. Once you have done this, everything in your estate will then be controlled by the terms of the trust. Upon your death, your successor trustee will be able to legally transfer your estate to your trust beneficiaries without going through the probate process.
Joint ownerships allow two individuals to have legal rights to a Ventura property. There are a variety of joint ownership arrangements, some of which grant equal rights from the start and others which do under specific conditions.
In a “right of survivorship” form of joint ownership, the surviving owner immediately assumes sole ownership of the Ventura property when the other owner passes. Probate is not needed to enact this change although you may need to do some paperwork to change it to a sole ownership moving forward.
Ventura allows you to have what is called a transfer-on-death (TOD) ownership over different kinds of estates. Transfer-on-death is applicable to stocks and bonds, real estate, and motor vehicles.
As the name implies, upon the death of the owner, the ownership is then transferred to the beneficiaries named on the TOD document.
Gif the Ventura Property
You can gift the property to your intended beneficiary prior to your death. This allows you to assume complete control over the Ventura property without asking permission.
Simplified Probate Process
Not all Ventura properties need to go through probate. In California, properties worth less than $184,500 can file for a small estate affidavit which allows them to assume legal ownership of the Ventura property without the need for going to probate court.
Probate can be a stressful process if you go through it without the appropriate probate attorney in Los Angeles. This is where contacting The Law Office of R. Grace Rodriguez can come in.
In our case, we specialize in bankruptcy, real estate, and probate and estate planning. To book a consultation with us, simply call (818) 734 – 7223 to get started today.