Trusts can help further a wide range of estate planning goals which is why trusts are so often found in an estate plan. Among the numerous and varied estate planning goals that can be furthered using a trust are: Probate avoidance Pet planning Long term care benefit planning Asset protection Incapacity planning Special needs planning Protecting the inheritance of a minor child Charitable gifting Tax avoidance Funeral planning … [Read more...] about What other purposes might a trust serve in my estate plan?
Wills and Trusts
People sometimes choose to execute a Last Will and Testament as their initial estate plan. As assets grow, however, the option to switch to a trust as the primary distribution method is often the wise move. Whether you want to use a Will or a trust to distribute your estate is something that can truly only be decided after consulting with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney; however, there are some common considerations when deciding whether a Will or a trust should be used. If … [Read more...] about Should I use a Will or a trust to distribute my estate assets?
At its most basic, trust is a relationship whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another. Trusts are broadly divided into living trusts and testamentary trusts with the former activating during the lifetime of the Settlor (the creator of the trust) and the latter typically being activated at the time of the Settlor’s death by a provision in the Settlor’s Will. Living trust can be further sub-divided into revocable and irrevocable living trusts while a testamentary trust is … [Read more...] about What is a trust?
Except in the case of a very modest estate, as soon as possible after your death, the individual appointed as the Executor of your Will must submit the original Will to the appropriate court for probate. The Executor is also required to formally notify beneficiaries and heirs of the estate as well as creditors that probate is underway. Creditor claims are reviewed and paid if approved. Any federal (and/or state if applicable) gift and estate taxes due must also be paid. Eventually, the terms of … [Read more...] about What happens to my Will after my death?
Given the prevalence of the internet in today’s society, people often make the mistake of thinking they can save time and money by using a “DIY” Will form they find on the internet. Unfortunately, you are more likely to cost your loved ones unnecessary time and money when it comes time to probate your estate by using these forms. DIY Will forms are notorious for having mistakes, errors, and omissions that lead to protracted litigation during the probate of an estate. Given the importance of your … [Read more...] about Can’t I just use one of those DIY Will forms I found on the internet to save money?
When a decedent dies without a valid Will in place the estate is referred to as an “intestate” estate. If you die intestate, the State of California (or the state where you reside at the time of your death) decides how your estate assets are distributed using the California intestate succession laws. Usually, this means that only close relatives will inherit from the estate. Moreover, dying intestate means you give up the ability to decide who oversees the probate of your estate. … [Read more...] about What happens if I die without a Will in place?
One of the most common explanations people offer when questioned about the fact that they do not have an estate plan is the belief that they do not yet need one. They either think they are too young or not wealthy enough to need a plan. Every adult can benefit from having an estate plan in place though, without regard to age, marital status, or net worth. At a bare minimum, executing a Will ensures that the State of California will not determine what happens to your estate assets and prevents … [Read more...] about I’m too young to need a Will aren’t I?
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that is used to express an individual’s wishes with regard to his/her estate assets and what should be done with them upon the Testator’s (creator of the Will) death. Gifts made in a Will may be general or specific and may be made to as many different beneficiaries as the Testator wishes. Along with serving as a vehicle for making gifts of estate assets, a Will is the only opportunity the parent of a minor child has to nominate who the parent would … [Read more...] about What is a Last Will and Testament?