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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Sacramento Probate and Privacy…There Must be a Better Way

March 29, 2013

Whether you’re famous or not, you may have reasons for wanting your private information to stay—well—private. Unfortunately, when your estate goes through the probate process in Sacramento, there is little to no privacy afforded to you or your loved ones. Instead, the probate division of the Sacramento Superior Court will record everything that happens, and it will be available for public scrutiny.

There are certainly good reasons to want more privacy. For example, if you have a business, it could be detrimental to have certain aspects of it publicized. You might also be worried about certain individuals attempting to interject themselves into your family’s situation once they realize that there might be something to gain from it. Along those same lines, it might be better for your heirs for those in their lives not to be privy to their inheritance and other information.

Another concern relates to the privacy of your children. When you pass away, it will become public knowledge how much they stand to inherit and when. Whether it’s $50,000 or $5,000,000, having this information out there in the public eye unnecessarily exposes your children to con-artists and other people who may not have their best interest in mind.

It’s no wonder why one of the main motivating factors that finally gets people into a Sacramento estate planning lawyer’s office is the desire to avoid probate. Besides the fact that probate makes all of your personal affairs public, it also has other drawbacks. It will bring additional expense that will be paid out of the estate and therefore leave less behind for the heirs. Not only that, but probate in Sacramento can be a very drawn-out process that significantly delays the distribution of assets.

Probate Concerns For Celebrities and High-Profile Heirs

While having your private information made public can be an uncomfortable thought for many people, it can be downright damaging for the estates and even heirs of celebrities. For those whose estates receive royalties, for example, if there is something in the will that can negatively affect public opinion of the celebrity, it can directly cause a drop in sales of their books/movies/music/etc., which will certainly damage the future worth of an inheritance.

A Will Still Requires Probate in Sacramento

While creating a will is certainly an important step in estate planning, it does not allow the estate to circumvent the probate process. It can definitely outline your wishes and help direct the courts in what to do with your assets, but the estate will still have to go through probate. And, the details of the will likely be available to anyone who wants to see them.  Again, there is little to no privacy in this scenario.

The answer to avoiding probate altogether likely lies in creating one or more specific types of trusts. They provide considerably more privacy for you and your heirs because they do not have to go through probate and be made public. A skilled estate planning attorney in Sacramento will understand the types of trusts that are available and will help clients determine what kind(s) are most fitting for each individual’s needs.

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Thanks for holding my hand. So glad you made things easier for me. I really don't know how I would have understood any of this without your knowledge.

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