Is a Living Trust Right For You?


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Heritage Living Trust, Financial Consultants - No License Required, Scotts Valley, CA

What People Are Saying About Heritage Trust

"I have a close personal friend, who is now 90 years old. She had a trust from Heritage Living Trust created about 3 years ago and since that time has been diagnosed with dementia. A week ago, after checking herself out of the hospital, the public guardian filed for conservatorship, asking the probate court to appoint them, the public guardian, as her new caregiver/conservator. My friend has no family left, but due to her Trust which was created while she was of sound mind, declared her wishes as to who she wanted to serve as her conservator if the time ever came to when she would need to be conserved. Normally, a non-relative conservatorship would be fairly difficult to implement, but in this case, the named individual in her estate plan came to the court and told the court that they desire to serve as my friend's conservator and will accept that responsibility. This morning, the probate attorney and the public guardian agreed that the named individual in the estate plan created by Heritage has precedence, and that the trust was sufficient to place that individual as her conservator.

If it were not for her Heritage trust, she would be another case added to the already overloaded government workers conservatorship pile. Instead, an individual who she loves, and who loves her, is now fulfilling my friend's final wishes and providing for her the end of life care that she deserves after having worked hard for the past 90 years."       

R. Jones...California 


"Thank you Heritage Staff and Associates for providing the type of customer service a consumer only dreams of. I am so impressed with the accurate and timely response to my many questions and how everything is explained in terms I can understand. Most impressive is the ability to make changes to our trust at any time without an extra charge. I am confident that Heritage Trust has given me the security my family needs for the future."
 Z. Gibbs...Colorado

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"In 2003 when I was looking for someone to do my Living Trust, I found . I met with the staff at their office and we started the process. The service was and is above and beyond my expectations. In 2007, after marrying again, my husband and I had them set up a new A-B Trust, which we have amended several times since then, at no extra cost. We have been completely satisfied and send them Kudos for all their patience, hard work and professionalism." 
Chris and George S., Pacific Grove, California

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    Probate Schedules by State

    One of the basic reasons to create a revocable living trust is to avoid probate. However, many people often find themselves the administrator of an estate that needs to go through the probate process. Probate laws are governed by each state and each state’s probate exemption law is different. (One of the major reasons to avoid probate in every state where you may have property.) Usually what is permitted is determined by accepted custom and practice in the local legal community. The checklist does not define how individual state law calculates the dollar limits for exemptions, transfers by wills, i.e., whether the limit applies to your gross estate (the market value of everything you own with no deductions for debts), net estate (market value less debts and encumbrances), or net probate estate (net value of property left by will). The checklist summarizes each state’s law and provides three categories of information for each state.

    Affidavit Procedure Instead of Probate

    This category tells you whether the state has a law allowing any property left by a will to be transferred by affidavit, free of al probate. If there is a “no” in this category, then the state does not have this kind of law. “Free of normal probate” means that no actual court proceeding, notice of hearing, hearings before a judge, formal pleadings, etc. are required. Some states still require a relatively simple affidavit to be filed with a court or court clerk. Other states don’t require any judicial filing at all.

    If there is a dollar figure in this category, it means the state has a law allowing property up to the dollar figure listed to be transferred by this method. Any restrictions on the type of property than can be transferred are listed. Some states allow only personal property and not real estate to be transferred. Real estate is usually so valuable that it is unlikely that an interest in real estate would fall below the dollar limit, unless the ownership in the property is a very small percentage of the whole. Any restrictions on who the beneficiaries can be are also listed. The checklist does not set forth the precise information which must be in an affidavit, if one is required. Search your state’s law to determine this.

    Summary Probate

    This category provides the same kind of information as given in category 1 for those states which do require probate, but offer a simplified or truncated version. Again, these procedures vary widely from state to state. Under a summary probate, the executor files an application to probate the will exactly as in traditional probate. A hearing is then held to “prove” the will. If the will is proved valid, and it’s shown that the estate has no outstanding debts or other problems the court orders summary probate dispensing with many of the tedious steps or normal probate. Since the will has been proved in court, title to the property transferred in this way isn’t open to challenge. This avoids a problem that sometimes occurs with the small estate affidavit.


    This category lists the legal citation for each state’s probate exemption statute. If the state has two statutes, one for an affidavit procedure and another for a simplified probate, both citations are given. In such cases, the first citation given is to the Affidavit Procedure statute. The citations are to the first section of the relevant statute. The + symbol after the statutory cite means that other pertinent sections follow the first section that is noted.

    State Affidavit Instead of Probate Summary Probate Statuses
    Alabama No $3,000 personal property only Code of Alabama, Title 43, Ch. 2, Section 690 +
    Alaska No No dollar limit Alaska Statutes Title 13, Ch. 6, Section 13.16.08
    Arizona $50,000 No, (except for certain types of family property) Arizona Revised Statute, Sections 14-3971+; 14-1973+
    Arkansas $25,000 No Arkansas Statutes Annotated, Sections G2.2127+
    California $100,000 personal property and real property interest, $20,000 To surviving spouse, community property petition, no dollar limit California Probate Code, Sections 13.200+, 13.500+
    Colorado Net Estate $20,000 No (except for certain types of exempt family property, etc.) Colorado Revised Statute Sections 13-12-1201+
    Connecticut Net Estate $20,000 No (except for certain types of exempt family property, etc.) Connecticut General Statutes Annotated title 45, Sections 266+
    Delaware $12,500 personal property only: Beneficiaries can only be spouse, grandparents, children or other specified relatives No Delaware Code Annotated Title 12, Sections 2306+
    District of Columbia No (except if entire estate is more than two cars, and all debts and taxes are paid) No District of Columbia Code Title 20. Section 2101+
    Florida No (except for very small estates with less than specified exceptions) $25,000 property in Florida subject to probate: $60,000 for estate left primarily to family members Florida Statutes Annotated Sections 735.301+; 735.201+ 735.103+
    Georgia No No No Applicable statute
    Hawaii $100,000 $20,000 property in Hawaii Hawaii Revised Statutes, Sections 560: 3-1205+; 560: 3-1213
    Idaho No No dollar limit Indiana Statutes Annotated Sections 29-1-8+; 29-1-7.5-5+
    Iowa No $15,000 total value of probate and non-probate Iowa property; only surviving spouse, minor children, parents Iowa Code Annotated; section 635+
    Kansas No No dollar limit Kansas Statutes Annotated, Sections 59-3201+; 3301+
    Kentucky No By agreement of all beneficiaries when spouse receives probate estate under $7,500 Kentucky Revised Statutes, Sections 391.030+, 395,450+
    Louisiana No No (except Louisiana residents who die intestate with estate worth less than $50,000) No applicable statute
    Maine No No dollar limit Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, Title 18A, Sections 1-101
    Maryland No (except if entire estate is no more than two cars or a boat worth less than $5,000) $20,000 Annotated Code of Maryland, Section 5-601+
    Massachusetts No (except wages less than $100, or bank accounts of $2,000 to $3,000, depending on type) $15,000 personal property Mass. General Laws Annotated, Ch 195, Section 16+
    Michigan No $5,000; (and car worth less than $10,000 given to surviving spouse, if no other property) Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated, Sections 27.5101+ 257.236; and 9.1936
    Minnesota No $30,000 Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 525.51+
    Mississippi No $500 Mississippi Annotated Code, Sections 91-7-147
    Missouri No $15,000 Annotated Missouri Statutes, Section 5 473.097
    Montana No No dollar limit Montana Code Annotated, Title 72, Section 3-201+
    Nebraska No No dollar limit Revised Statutes of Nebraska, Sections 30-2414+
    Nevada $20,000 for real property
    $200,000 for just personal property
    $100,000 Nevada Revised Statutes, Section 145.070+, 146.010+
    New Hampshire No (except $500 to surviving spouse) $5,000 New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated, CH 553.331+
    New Jersey No (only if die intestate, then $10,000 to spouse, or $5,000 to others) No No applicable statute
    New Mexico $5,000 $10,000 plus certain statutory allowance New Mexico Statutes, 45-3-1202, 45-3-1204
    New York $10,000 (plus certain types of exempt property, to specified dollar limits) No Consolidated Laws of New York Annotated, Estates Powers and Trusts Law, Section 1301+
    North Carolina $10,000 personal property No General Statutes of North Carolina, CH 28A, Section 23-1.1
    North Dakota No No dollar limit North Dakota Code, Title 30.1-14+
    Ohio No $15,000 Ohio Revised Code Annotated, Section 2113.03
    Oklahoma No $60,000 Oklahoma Statutes Annotated, Title 58, Sections 241+
    Oregon $25,000 personal property, $60,000 real property No Oregon Revised Statutes, Section 114.515+
    Pennsylvania No $10,000 personal property Pennsylvania statutes Annotated. Title 20, sections 3120+
    Rhode Island No (except person(s) who paid funeral costs, last bills, etc., up to $7,500) No No applicable statutes
    South Carolina $10,000 $10,000 Code of Laws of South Carolina, Title 62, CH 3, Sections 1201, 1203+
    South Dakota $5,000 $60,000 South Dakota codified Laws, Sections 30-11A+, 30-11-1
    Tennessee No (except $1,000 wages to widow, bank accounts less than $1,000) $10,000 real estate only Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 30 Ch 4 Sections 101+
    Texas $50,000 No dollar limit Texas probate Code, Sections 137+, 145+
    Utah $50,000 No dollar limit Texas probate Code, Sections 137+, 145+
    Vermont No $10,000 personal property Vermont Statutes Annotated, Title 14, Sections 1901+
    Virginia $5,000 personal property and $5,000 owed deceased from bank or employment No Code of Virginia, Sections 64.1-132+
    Washington $30,000 personal property No Revised code of Washington Annotated, Title 11 Sections 62.010+
    West Virginia No $50,000 West Virginia Code, Ch 24, Art. 2, Section 1
    Wisconsin $5,000 personal property $10,000 Also Wisconsin has an “informal” probate procedure that does not require a lawyer and has no dollar limit Wisconsin Statutes Annotated; Sections 867.03+, 867.045+
    Wyoming $30,000 No Wyoming Statutes Annotated Section 2-1-201