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Agoura Hills Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Attorneys

How do Trust assets avoid probate court?

Providing Peace of Mind One Estate Plan at A Time

A Trust is a legal document that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to a Trustee, who then holds and manages those assets for the benefit of the Trust’s beneficiaries. One of the main advantages of a Trust is that it can help your assets avoid probate, especially here in California.

Probate is the legal process by which a court oversees the distribution of estate assets. It can be time-consuming and costly, and can make the distribution of assets public record. By transferring ownership of your assets to a Trust during your lifetime, you can (in most cases) bypass probate court upon your death.

Because a Trust is a contract between you and your Trustee, your Trustee must honor the terms of the contract. In other words, your Trustee must distribute your assets according to the terms of the Trust document, and doesn’t usually need the permission of a court to do so.

A probate-avoidance Trust has the added benefits of distributing your assets according to your wishes, without court oversight, and usually much quicker than assets that go through probate. Trusts can also provide more privacy as the assets and beneficiaries are not listed in public records.

Not all assets can be placed in a Trust, and some assets might still subject to probate even if they are in a Trust. It is best to consult with a licensed attorney to determine which assets are appropriate for a Trust, and how to best to complement the Trust with supporting documents, such as a pour-over Will, Power of Attorney, and Advanced Health Care Directive, etc.

Got more questions? Call us (818.707.8200) to discuss your situation.

[For information only; may NOT be relied upon as legal advice.]