Starting in 2016, California Law (Probate Code Section 5600, et seq.) allows an individual to transfer real property at death, without using a Revocable Living Trust and without the time and expense of a probate proceeding. A TOD Deed is revocable and must be recorded within 60 days of signing. The TOD Deed does not require the hiring of an attorney.
A sample form, along with Questions and Answers, provided by the CA Legislature, can be downloaded here: California Revocable Transfer on Death (TOD) Deed.
This process will, indeed, provide savings. However, it only addresses real property and does not serve as substitute of a complete Estate Plan – a Will, Living Trust, Advance Health Care Directive and/or Power of Attorney. A thorough Estate Plan, which can be completed in one-day (www.samedaytrust.com), provides a plan for incapacity, ways to care for a surviving spouse and minor children, protection from in-laws, and still avoids the time and expense of a probate proceeding.
Because the use of a TOD Deed can be susceptible to fraud and undue influence or might have unintended consequences for beneficiaries with disabilities or financial woes, it is highly advisable to consult with a competent estate planning attorney.