An essential part of Estate Planning includes the set up of Wills and Trusts. Contrary to popular belief, Wills and Trusts are not just for the wealthy. Anyone with a positive net worth and/or minor children needs to have a Will and possibly Trust(s) in place to ensure the estate is distributed according to one’s wishes and as efficiently as possible. It is important to seek the assistance of an Estate Planning Attorney in order to adequately set up your estate to reflect your goals and to limit tax liability.
Wills serve to provide instructions for how you would like your property divided in the event of your death. It will also name who you would like to care for any minor children you may have in the event of an untimely death. Your Will names a legal representative that will carry out all instructions given for your estate. Wills cover only probate property, however. Assets such as jointly owned properties, 401k plans, life insurance policies, IRAs, trusts and other assets with named beneficiaries are not covered. Careful set up of a Will can make the administration of your estate run more smoothly in probate and with less expense. If you should die without a Will (intestate) your estate will be divided according to state law which may not reflect your wishes.
Trusts can provide many advantages to property owners. Trusts avoid probate. By avoiding probate, mandatory administration fees are eliminated and property is usually distributed in a timelier manner. Trusts known as credit shelter trusts or life insurance trusts can also have tax advantages for the both the donor and beneficiary. Trusts can also be used to help one qualify for Medi-Cal or to protect property from creditors. Trusts are completely private, unlike the probate process. Only those directly named in the trust need to be aware of trust assets and distribution. A well drafted trust can effectively serve one’s estate during incapacitation and after ones death.
Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning, Inc. is an experienced Estate Planning Law Firm providing individually tailored plans to fit our clients’ needs. 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. We will give you the best options for your estate including which types of Wills and Trusts you should employ to achieve your 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.