Despite the past couple of years, real estate prices in California have increased tremendously when adjusted for inflation during this time. The result is that many estates that were previously probate ineligible became probate eligible.
For example, the magic number before an estate becomes probate eligible is $100,000 subject to a few qualifications. Since it is difficult to find a parcel of real property worth less than $100,000, a person is left with the choice of either having to go through probate or draft a living trust to pass the real property to their beneficiaries upon their death. Although a living trust is not a panacea for post-death administration, most people find it preferable to probate due to savings in cost and time.