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What Happens if I Pass Away Without a Living Trust? 
Your children will not have immediate access to your assets. They will be forced to go through the California Probate Court, and the California Probate Code will dictate who will administer your estate and how your assets will be distributed. The Probate Process is very expensive and could take years before your children receive their inheritance. 
What if I have a Will? 
A Will is a golden ticket to the California Probate Court and the thousands of dollars in fees. A Judge still needs to determine that in fact the Will is valid and that it has not been revoked. 

What are the benefits of having a Living Trust? 
A Living Trust will allow your children to have immediate access to your assets. A properly drafted and maintained Living Trust is the only way to avoid Probate. A Living Trust will also protect you and your family in the case of a disability due to the fact that a Living Trust becomes effective immediately. The Living Trusts that I prepare in my office are designed specifically for your situation, so you decide how and when your assets will be distributed. 

Can I make changes to a Living Trust once I create one?
Absolutely. You maintain complete control over your assets, and can make any changes you wish at any time. You can sell your assets, acquire more assets, change distributions, etc. 

Can I avoid Probate if I hold title as Joint Tenants?
We cannot predict the future; you and your significant other may pass away together. If that is the case, then there is no one alive to take title, and the Probate Process would need to be initiated. Also, blended families are very common nowadays – you may have children from different relationships. You may be disinheriting your children by taking title to a property in Joint Tenancy given that the surviving Joint Tenant has no obligation to share any part of the house with stepchildren.