A well-constructed estate plan can avoid probate and the various administration fees that reduce the amount of your estate that gets distributed to your beneficiaries. It is important to seek the advice of an Estate Planning Attorney in order to properly set up your estate to reflect your wishes for your assets both during your lifetime and in the event of your death. Probate can be a lengthy and very public process for your estate and your beneficiaries. Avoiding this unpleasant process takes just a little preparation in comparison to the benefits estate planning brings.
The most common way to avoid probate is by setting up a trust. There are various types of trusts depending upon your particular goals and how much your estate is worth. Your Estate Planning Attorney can help you decide which trust is best for you. A trust can help you avoid probate since all property that is held by the trust is not legally part of your estate at the time of your death. Instructions for property held in the trust are left for your trustee and therefore court interference is not needed. Your trustee, who is often the attorney –in –fact named in your durable power of attorney, can be left instructions to transfer all property not currently held in your trust over to the trust in the event your death is imminent.
There are other ways to avoid probate of property. Joint tenancy can be used where a property can be passed to a surviving spouse without probate. The property, however, may not be left to anyone else by means of a Will and there could be tax implications on appreciated property. The property can also be titled as community property and left to the surviving spouse by means of the Superior Court. This is a relatively fast and inexpensive way to pass along property, but again can only be passed on to the surviving spouse. Seek the counsel of an experienced Estate Planning Attorney to determine the best tax-saving strategy for your situation.
Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning, Inc. is an experienced Estate Planning Law Firm providing individually tailored plans to fit our clients’ needs. Attorney Julie Fiedler is experienced in setting up estates to avoid probate and its costly fees. After a careful review of the details and fees involved in the process, we begin to structure an estate plan based on our clients’ concerns and goals. Our Law Offices are located throughout the state and serves California in Elder Law and Estate Planning. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.