I have all house deed papers. Am I able to make executive decisions as beneficiary of life Insurance policy and death certificate? Can I avoid probate?
Please note that DeedClaim.com is not a law firm and cannot give legal advice, so you shouldn’t take anything said here to be legal advice about your situation.
That said, as a general rule, probate is required to transfer real estate. Some states have shortcuts that can be used to transfer real estate without going through a full formal probate process. You would need to check with a California attorney to find out if any of these probate shortcuts apply in your situation.
Our Deed Generator cannot be used to transfer property when the owner is deceased unless the property is titled with rights of survivorship and there is a surviving owner or an estate planning deed has been used to avoid probate.
In California, common estate planning deeds include life estates, Revocable Transfer-On-Death Deeds, and deeds to living trusts. See our section on Using Deeds to Avoid Probate of California Real Estate for more information.
Probate can be avoided with planning. For example, our California Revocable Transfer-On-Death Deed form can be used to transfer property automatically at death, without the need for probate. It also allows the owner to retain complete control during his or her lifetime.
Alternatively, a living trust can be established and property can be transferred to the living trust. This also avoids probate while allowing the owner to retain control over the property.
But regardless of whether you use a Transfer-On-Death Deed or deed to a living trust, that type of planning would needed to have been done during the owner’s lifetime. Once the owner dies, you usually lose the opportunity to transfer real estate without going through probate.
Although it may be too late to avoid probate of the real estate that you are asking about, there are steps that you can take to avoid this problem yourself. If you want to avoid this type of problem for your own property after you die, you can use our Deed Generator to create one of the estate planning deeds referenced above.