Estate Planning at Orange County Probate

If your assets are not in a trust, your estate will most likely be required by law to go through “Probate.” Probate is a lengthy and very costly formal court procedure, where the court, not you or even your family, will make important decisions about your property.


Avoiding Probate

The average probate costs more than ten times the typical estate plan.  In fact, Estate Planning costs less than the various court required filing fees, legal publication fee, and probate referee fees that it takes just to get the process started.  


For example, if your only asset is a house and that house is worth $350,000, the Probate Code Attorney fees will be $10,000 and the Estate Executor or Administrator fees are another $10,000.  Having us prepare an Estate Plan for you would mean tens of thousands of dollars in savings to your loved ones.


We will draft a custom estate plan for you, and your spouse if you are married, that makes sure your hard earned property goes to the people you choose. You name the successor trustees, not the court.

If you have minor children, an estate plan names who would care for your children.


What is included in your custom estate plan?

  • Revocable, also known as a Living Trust–this document names the trustees and beneficiaries.
  • Pour-Over Will — this is an important catch-all document that can cover certain assets and names the Guardian of minor children.
  • Advance Health Care Directive — You name the people who can make health care decisions for you in the case of your incapacity and includes final illness and end-of-life instructions.
  • Durable Power of Attorney — You name who can make financial decisions for you in the case of your incapacity. It can cover some or all of the different categories of property.
  • Trust Transfer Deed — Puts your house or other real estate into the trust. We make sure it is recorded with the County.
  • Advice and Counsel on titling other assets into the trust.
  • Custom Estate Plan Binder for all your important document central storage and access.


After I’m gone, does Trust Administration cost money?

Yes, Trust Administration can have its costs if professional help is needed, but nowhere near the expense of a probate. The average probate takes a year or more from filing to final distribution. And trust administration is a private matter. No court supervision is required.


Does everybody need a Living Trust?

No. There are a few exceptions. If that is your situation, we will tell you that at your free consultation. But if you own property with a gross value of over $150,000, you almost certainly do need the benefits of a Living Trust.


Every Estate Plan comes in a custom binder–