I've been fortunate that I've only had to deal with one Probate sale. It was a drag. Attorney fees, lag time, quite the pain with a property not in a Trust and the owner passes.
Our governor has gotten AB139 signed into effect starting January 1, 2016. It's only good for 5 years, but can be renewed. They wanted to see how it pans out before permanency.
Nicknamed correctly, as 'The Poor Mans Trust', it enables a person that owns property to transfer it to a beneficiary, upon death, without having to form a trust. If that's your only asset, probably a good way to go. Couples usually goes to the spouse/partner, so this is great for a widow or single person.
BUT, if you have a large group of assets, a Trust is probably a better way to go to protect your heirs.
Talk to a trusted adviser before you choose either option. With the costs involved of setting up a trust, probate fees for your heirs if it's not set up when you pass, this may be a good option.
Now, it is expected that there will be those scoundrels that convince some to complete the Simple Revocable Transfer on Death Deed in their name. Family members have a way to stop that but, of course, there will be legal fees involved if that happens.
I think it could be a great way to avoid significant money spent if you just don't have it. Oh, and if you set it up with Brother Johnny and later you want to change it to Sister Amelia? Absolutely can be done....prior to your demise. Just needs to be done 60 days prior to passing.
I like it, what about you?