Estate planning

Wills and Estate Planning

Different Estate Planning Documents

Estate planning

Your estate is a product of your hard work. It is important to make sure that your assets are well taken care of, both while you are still living and when you pass away. Seeking legal help is especially useful when you designate or add beneficiaries, in keeping a record of bank account details, and in filing required tax returns.

While these things seem straightforward, they seldom are. It is highly recommended to seek supervision from a local attorney who has experience handling cases that are similar to yours. Do not commit the mistakes of testators who decided to appoint heirs without a diligent Laguna Hills estate lawyer supervising them.

A seasoned Laguna Hills, CA estate planning law attorney can answer your legal questions on estate taxes, trusts and wills, probate, and estate planning.

This article focuses on the different estate planning documents that may apply to you, depending on your resources, goals, and current situation. It is divided into the following sections:

  • Basics of the Estate Planning Process
  • Things to Consider Before You Write a Will
  • Taking Your Estate Planning Options Seriously
  • Drafting Last Wills and Testaments
  • Why Legal Advice from a Seasoned Local Attorney is Crucial
  • Contact Our Law Office in Orange County Today!

Basics of the Estate Planning Process

An estate is generally defined as everything that a deceased person owns, including real property, personal property, property in joint tenancy, life insurance, among others. One will likely write a will to deal with these after death. Writing a will, however, is not always the end-all-be-all of your estate plan. It all depends on what you need and what you want to do with what you have.

Consequently, estate administration broadly pertains to the judicial proceedings of transferring assets to surviving heirs, but this is rarely simple. While the value of creating a will or creating a trust will only be made manifest after death, it is something that you must be concerned about today.

Revocable trusts, for instance, are useful when specifying who shall be in charge of an individual’s affairs, whether during life or after death. Here, estate assets continue to grow for the benefit of trust beneficiaries.

Things to Consider Before You Write a Will

Some people are not aware that if at least one provision of a will is rendered invalid, it would be as if the deceased person did not make a will at all. The intestate probate process can be very complicated, and you would want your loved one to avoid probate and be spared from dealing with intestacy laws after you pass away.

As such, before you create a will and make decisions on heirs you want to appoint, make sure to get the legal services of good estate planning attorneys in California. There is a legal process of setting up a last will and testament. Anything that is not pursuant to estate law could lead to the last will being contested. There are various grounds for contesting a will, and you should keep these in mind as you prepare yours.

Writing a will is particularly useful if you wish to put in writing who shall inherit your estate property, or who shall take care of your minor children. Setting up a will is also ideal for appointing a personal representative, fiduciaries, business succession, and other related matters.

Taking Your Estate Planning Options Seriously

Life can bring unexpected events, which is a primary reason why it is necessary to protect your family’s future. With the right estate planning tool, you can proactively anticipate possible issues and scenarios and minimize the frustration and emotional distress that a family member could deal with.

The legal process of setting up a last will and testament can be quite complicated. Contrary to what others believe, wills are not simply about writing down the last wishes of a decedent. Drafting wills is drafting legal documents. A testator cannot simply distribute the inheritance to an heir or loved one without taking into account the probate code.

The number of witnesses, testamentary capacity, and other procedural requirements related to making a will must be taken into account. Here, an experienced estate attorney can make sure pertinent state laws and guidelines are strictly followed. Otherwise, your loved ones might face unnecessary stress when you pass away. 

Additionally, a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer in Laguna Hills will especially be helpful if you find yourself in a situation where you would have to deal with probate matters.

Drafting Last Wills and Testaments

Dying intestate can be very problematic for those that you will be leaving behind. When a person dies without a will, state laws governing the distribution of estates will take over, which may significantly differ from what you would have wanted. Similarly, a will that clearly outlines your wishes for property distribution can reduce family disagreements during a very emotionally stressful and challenging period. As such, you must make a last will as soon as possible.

Choosing an estate executor

The executor of a will is the one tasked to carry out the wishes of the decedent. When writing a will, most of the time, a testator would appoint either his or her would-be surviving spouse, child, or grandchild. A non-family member can also be appointed, such as a loved one, a trusted staff member, a business partner, or an estate planning attorney.

Naming heirs and beneficiaries

If you are making a will, consistency is key. When it comes to preparing this legal document, a common mistake made is not being able to name or update beneficiaries on other accounts. Whatever is listed on a life insurance or bank account must be consistent with what is in the estate planning document. Doing so will help family members avoid legal problems when they pass away.

Being specific on which heir shall inherit what

Before proceeding to draft a will, it is necessary to look into the types of assets that you wish to distribute after death. Several factors should be considered. Grandchildren, for instance, tend to have a long-term investment horizon and have more risk tolerance than children. These factors can help in managing estate assets and determining who shall get what. This, after all, is a primary reason behind creating a will.

Being realistic when describing inheritance

When drafting a will, it is important to be practical when distributing estate assets and personal property. Unrealistic instructions are a common reason why the loved ones of a deceased person would have bad blood between them. Tangible assets, such as jewelry, musical instruments, and artwork, cannot be ‘divided equally’. Whatever is stated in last wills and testaments, therefore, must be realistic.

Why Legal Advice from a Seasoned Local Attorney is Crucial

If you are worrying about how your surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren will be able to truly benefit from your estate assets, you will need to create an appropriate estate plan before you pass away. 

Looking at estate planning options suitable for you is an extremely important and responsible thing to do. It may involve some of the most important decisions that you will make in your life, so make sure an experienced legal team is assisting you.

Various legal documents may be used to deal with inheritance, trust accounts, or powers of attorney. Some of these may not be revoked once created, while others may be changed throughout the remainder of your life.

Estate planning laws can be quite complicated. Any proceeding related to making a will or trust and estate planning can be overwhelming. Some people think that estate administration is all about transferring and distributing property by writing a will. There is, however, a lot more to it than that.

Contact Our Law Office in Laguna Hills Today!

Due to the current health crisis and economic situation, many people are concerned with the need to plan their future. More and more are taking concrete steps to make sure that their estates will be in the right hands after death.

Proceeding with your plan to create a trust or last will and testament can be very helpful for you, your spouse, children, grandchildren, and other loved ones. Credible legal advice and supervision, however, are key to avoiding mistakes.

If you need legal help on making a will or establishing a trust, or if you need to clarify what the legal terms trustee, executor, or guardianship mean, consult with our knowledgeable Laguna Hills, CA estate planning attorneys today. Trusts, wills, and estates must be taken very seriously, so make sure to contact a trusted California estate planning law firm today. 

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