To make a living trust in California, write a trust document that states the name of the person inheriting the trust property and designates you as the trustee, instructs Nolo. Sign it in the presence of a notary public, and transfer your properties to yourself as the trustee.
In a living trust, the trustee possesses the legal title to certain properties for a beneficiary, explains Nolo. A person can completely control all properties held in trust by assigning himself as the trustee of his own living trust. With a living trust, the relatives of the trustee don't have to undergo expensive and lengthy probate court proceedings after his death.
The probate process in California is generally complicated; the state doesn't apply the Uniform Probate Code, which aims to simplify the probate procedure, notes Nolo. California residents may find it beneficial to create a living trust to avoid such a complex process. However, people with a net worth below $100,000 likely don't need a living trust, as California implements a simpler probate process for small estates.
Making a simple probate-avoidance living trust in California does not reduce federal estate tax, according to Nolo. However, an AB trust or another complex living trust can decrease the federal estate tax charges for individuals with plenty of valuable assets.