California is one of the states that permits a living trust. Basically you hold on to ownership and control of all of your property while you are alive (without the various tax ramifications of a formal trust) and then when you die the trust owns all of your property - therefore avoiding probate (and the associated costs).
In California, I generally recommend to anyone that owns a home here, that they have a living trust instead of a will. A will needs to go through probate court after you die, and generally costs your estate between $10,000 - 40,000 in attorney's fees. If you have a living trust you may pay $1500 - $5000 up front while you are alive, but you avoid the additional cost of going to probate court.
Often you can get a living trust in a bundle. We do a bundle with a pour over will, a living trust, a power of attorney, and a health care directive all together. Since we charge on a sliding scale, the total cost can be anywhere between $600 - $2500 for this service. Call us today for a quote for you. We also do deals for married couples.