California Estate Planning Blog by Kevin Staker

February 14, 2016

If You Own Your Own Home, You Should Have a Living Trust

Filed under: Kevin Staker,Uncategorized — Kevin Staker @ 7:20 pm
Tags: ,

May we return to a fundamental of estate planning: if you own your home, you should have a living trust.

You can avoid probate only if the assets in your name alone with no beneficiary are under $150,000 (See California Probate Code section 13100.)  This is based on the gross value of your home, not the net equity.

Also, you do own your home; the bank does not own it.  The bank only has a lien on your home to secure its loan.

Very few homes in California are under $150,000 in value.  Hence, everyone’s family faces a probate of the home when they are gone.

A probate is an involved court proceeding where a judge gives someone in your family the power to sell your home.  Otherwise, your home cannot be sold.  Your name is on the deed.  You cannot sign the deed to sell.  You are deed.

The fees and costs in a probate are astronomical.  The median price of a home in California is about $480,000.  The statutory attorneys fees in a probate of such a home would be $12,600.  Plus your executor could charge you the same amount.

We also handle probates.  But much prefer you do a living trust now.

To paraphrase the old Fram oil filter, “You can pay us a little now, or your family can pay us a lot later on.”

For more information go to the Kevin Staker video at

By Kevin Staker


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