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Bob Hillery

CR Properties

Presenting: Maximizing your real property with the benefits of trusts in California

By attorney Mike Perdue

Real property ownership in California comes with a host of opportunities and responsibilities. Among the many tools available to property owners, trusts stand out as a strategic and flexible option that offers numerous benefits.

A trust is a legal arrangement that allows property owners to manage and distribute their assets, such as real estate, while providing financial security and control. In the Golden State, utilizing trusts can be particularly advantageous due to the unique legal and financial landscape. In this article, we will delve into the benefits of trusts for owners of real property in California.

Avoiding probate

One of the primary advantages of establishing a trust for your real property in California is the ability to sidestep the often lengthy and expensive probate process. Probate is the legal procedure that validates a will and ensures assets are distributed according to the deceased's wishes.

However, it can be time-consuming, costly, and subject to court oversight (figure 3% of the value of your assets as a close minimum, plus an average of 2 years in court). By placing your property in a trust, you enable a smoother transition of ownership to your designated beneficiaries, bypassing the probate process in most cases.

Maintaining privacy

California is known for its stringent privacy laws, and trusts offer an effective way to maintain confidentiality regarding your property and its value. When real property passes through probate, the proceedings become a matter of public record, exposing sensitive financial information to the public eye. By utilizing a trust, property owners can keep things more private, as trust documents are not normally subject to public disclosure.

Flexibility in distribution

Trusts provide property owners with unparalleled flexibility in dictating how their assets are distributed. Whether you wish to divide your property among multiple beneficiaries, specify conditional distributions, or stagger disbursements over time, a trust allows you to tailor distribution plans to your unique preferences. This level of customization ensures that your real property benefits those you care about in the ways most advantageous to them. Substance abusers, disabled, or spendthrifts can all be effectively helped through the use of a trust.

Asset protection

California is known for its dynamic business environment, but it's also home to certain financial risks. Utilizing a trust can provide an added layer of protection for your real property, shielding it from potential creditors and legal judgments. Irrevocable trusts, in particular, can offer robust asset protection benefits by transferring ownership and control of the property to the trust, thereby placing it beyond the reach of personal liabilities in most cases for those with high assets.

Efficient succession planning

Planning for the future is crucial, especially when it comes to real property. By creating a trust, property owners can ensure a seamless transition of ownership in the event of incapacitation or passing.

This is particularly valuable for families who wish to maintain the property's legacy and prevent potential conflicts among heirs. A well-structured trust can provide clear instructions for succession, minimizing the risk of disputes down the line. But there are caveats in these types of trusts, so you need an attorney who knows the pitfalls.

Managing incapacity

In the unfortunate event of physical or mental incapacity, a trust can ensure that your real property remains well-managed and cared for. Designating a successor trustee to take over management duties can prevent disruption in property management and rental income, if applicable. This can be especially vital in a state like California, where property values and rental markets can be quite lucrative.


For owners of real property in California, the advantages of establishing a trust are both compelling and diverse. From evading the complexities of probate to protecting assets from potential liabilities, trusts offer a powerful framework for managing and distributing real estate holdings.

With privacy, flexibility, and efficient succession planning at its core, a trust empowers property owners to leave a lasting legacy while safeguarding their interests and those of their loved ones. Consulting with an experienced trust Attorney is essential to tailor a trust strategy that best suits your unique family circumstances and goals.

If there are any questions, contact Mike Perdue, attorney in Bonsall, at 760-930-966 or through


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