Real property is one of the biggest factors in determining if an estate will go through probate in California. As an estate planning attorney, my goal is to prevent the need for probate by ensuring that any real property you own has a line of succession. This is usually in the form of a Trust Transfer Deed because it all but guarantees that your real property will not be subject to probate, thereby ensuring that your property will be distributed per your wishes without the costly delay of the California probate process.
As recent as two years ago, California passed a law enabling individuals with real property to create a line of succession for their property through a Transfer on Death Deed. While this document is faster and potentially more affordable, but there are some serious drawbacks to a Transfer on Death Deed. If ownership of the property is transferred using a Transfer on Death Deed, when the property is put on the market for sale, title companies will not issue title insurance for that property. The pamphlet created by the Sacramento County Public Law Library (Link here) does a great job of outlining the basics of a Transfer on Death Deed, but it does not discuss all of the issues that can occur if you chose to use this document instead of a revocable trust funded with your real property.
If you have property in California, it is very important that you discuss all of the options when creating your estate plan to avoid the probate process. Work with an experienced attorney such as the Estate Planning attorney Rocklin CA locals turn to.
Thanks to authors at Law Office of Alexandria Goff PC for their insight into Estate Planning.