Probate almost seems like a bad word. Many people have a fear of this process without even understanding what it is. Probate in California is a legal proceeding, but unlike common belief says, it does not always take a long time. However, it does cost money and take some time, so many people prefer to avoid it if they can. You can help your heirs by creating an estate that essentially avoids the process completely.

The California Courts explain that you can set up certain assets and accounts so they transfer easily upon your death without the need for the court’s involvement. It is also possible, based on the value of your estate, to avoid probate.

Small estate rule

The small estate rule says that if your estate is worth under $150,000, then you may be able to bypass probate. In any case, with an estate of this value, you can simplify probate even if you cannot avoid it altogether.

Beneficiary accounts

You can also set up certain accounts that transfer to a beneficiary upon your death. Life insurance is a great example of this type of account. The court does not have to be involved in this transfer because it automatically happens under the law.

Joint ownership

This works best for property. If you and someone else own property together, the ownership transfers to the surviving owner upon your death. Again, this is a legal and automatic occurrence, so no need for probate.


A living trust is another way to transfer assets and avoid probate. You can create this while you are still alive and put assets into it that you will decide who they go to upon your death.

If you really want to save your heirs from the probate process, you may be able to set up all your assets to avoid it. Just make sure that you get some guidance from a professional to ensure everything goes as planned.