The reality is that at some point in our lives, we all have to deal with the passing of a loved one, and the consequences of their passing.
As we take time to grieve and honor their loss, dealing with a loved one’s passing also means needing to sort out their affairs and ensure their final wishes are fulfilled. During this process, we might encounter a legal process known as probate law.
What is probate law and how does it work in Chatsworth?
If you’ve clicked on this article, you might be a Chatsworth native who is working through the loss of a loved one and trying to deal with both the emotional and legal repercussions of that loss.
Here’s what you need to know about probate law in Chatsworth:
Probate is a process that occurs when a person passes away and leaves their assets behind.
When someone passes away, their assets are put on probate. Probate occurs in order to ensure that the decedent’s last will and testament is carried out accordingly by law. It is usually facilitated by an estate planning lawyer, but this is not always the case. A person might sometimes assign a relative to carry out their will.
Probate can be a time-consuming and tedious process, and it can sometimes overtake a family’s grief with its complications.
But, there is another option that is unique to probate law in Chatsworth:
The heirs of a decedent might be able to avoid probate law entirely.
Here’s how to escape probate in Chatsworth, LA:
1. Place your assets in a Chatsworth living trust.
If you wish to have your heirs avoid probate entirely, you can have the assets you wish to pass on stipulated in a revocable living trust.
The living trust is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to avoid the probate process. Placing your assets in a living trust will allow your heirs to directly inherit whatever is stipulated in the trust following your passing. A trust is also convenient in that it is flexible and can be rewritten any time.
2. Consider payable-on-death accounts.
Another option that you can consider is payable-on-death accounts (POD).
Payable-on-death accounts are bank accounts that have a clause that states that your beneficiaries will inherit your assets upon your passing without needing to submit any letters or petitions. Essentially, these make your assets payable to your heir upon your passing.
Without the POD clause on your account, the bank is liable to freeze your assets until your estate planning lawyer or executor presents your death certificate. This can be time-consuming and can cause delays for your heirs.
3. Think about changing property titles to joint ownership.
Another way your loved ones can avoid probate is through changing the titles of your property to reflect joint ownership. This means that upon your passing, your heirs do not need to present any documents to take over ownership of your property.
You can also consider joint ownership through tenancy by entirety. This stipulates that spouses may have the right to hold 100% in properties they share.
4. Fulfill a transfer-on-death deed.
Another thing some Los Angeles estate planning lawyers suggest is a transfer-on-death deed (TOD). This is also known as the beneficiary deed, and allows your property to be transferred immediately upon your passing, and only comes into effect once you pass.
5. Consider gifting your Chatsworth property.
The last option for this article is to gift your property prior to your loved one’s passing.
The law allows you to gift an individual up to $15,000 tax-free. A spouse can receive $30,000 if you file taxes together. You may also give up to $11.7 million of your assets in the form of gifts before being taxed by the state.
Gift-giving your assets also helps reduce the value of your estate, which simplifies the probate process. It also ensures that you are directly responsible for who receives your assets even prior to passing.
There are many things to consider and plan to ensure our loved ones’ comfort before our time is up on this earth. If you want your loved ones to avoid the complicated probate process should you suffer an untimely passing, consider:
Hire an estate planning lawyer.
If you’re searching for an estate planning lawyer in Los Angeles, the Law Office of R. Grace Rodriguez would be happy to provide you with the assistance you need to navigate the process.
You may visit our main office at 21000 Devonshire St #111, Chatsworth, CA 91311, or contact us at 818-734-7223.