Planning for Your Future
As you prepare for your future, one essential legal step to take is estate planning. Developing an estate plan can benefit you in the present as well as your family in the future. Opting out of an estate plan means that you are leaving the task of handling and distributing your assets to the government. Such an action can result in your family having to go to court after your death. Probate judges will be tasked with taking control of your estate and dictating the sale or distribution of your home, bank accounts and other assets. It will also be up to the government to determine who inherits your property upon your death if you do not leave a living trust or will.
Probate is the expensive and inefficient court process your family will have to take if you do not develop an estate plan. California courts are unable to provide the time and resources necessary to protect your estate in an efficient manner. In order to ensure that your estate is administered in the most effective way possible, speak with a Huntington Beach estate planning lawyer from our firm! We can help you through the following aspects of estate planning:
An arrangement that allows a trustee (generally you) to hold the legal title to your property that will be given to your beneficiaries upon your death is known as a living trust. Generally, you will name yourself (and your spouse if married) as trustee of your living trust during your lifetime, and a successor trustee of your choosing to take over upon your death or incapacity (if married, upon death or incapacity of the surviving spouse). This way you maintain control over your property just like you had before you put it in trust, and upon your death or incapacity your successor trustee can take over without probate court and follow your instructions in the trust document. If you become incapacitated your successor trustee will manage your trust assets for your benefit, and upon death your successor trustee will manage and distribute the trust assets for your named beneficiaries (children and/or other loved ones). If married, the spouse will generally be the trustee upon the death or incapacity of a spouse, and the successor trustee only takes over upon the death or incapacity of both spouses. Trusts of this kind are considered living because they are made while you are still alive. When properly drafted and funded, living trusts can save you and your beneficiaries (your children and/or other loves ones) substantial time and money by avoiding probate court. In addition, living trusts allow you to customize how and when your beneficiaries will inherit from you. For example, their inheritance can be left in trust, which will protect it from their creditors or claims of a divorcing spouse. Living Trusts can be customized in many ways to protect the inheritance you leave to your children and/or other loved ones.
Powers of attorney are important elements of estate planning. If you become incapacitated, an individual must take charge of paying your bills and handling other financial matters. Rather than allowing this matter to be left up to the court, the appointed power of attorney can take action. Consult our firm to learn how to designate a person for this role and draft the necessary documents.
An advance health care directive allows you to inform the people who care about your health, such as physician and family members, of your healthcare preferences. There may come a time when you are no longer able to verbally discuss your desires for diagnostic testing and surgical procedures, which is why this document is important. An advance health care directive can ensure the quality of life that you wish to possess at every stage of your health in the future.
Many individuals realize the necessity of creating a will without knowing what it actually is and how it functions. Our firm can help you understand its purpose and how to assess your estate and concerns in order to address them fully in your will. We can help you through the entire process of creating a will, including naming an executor and deciding how your property and money will be distributed upon your death.
Plan for the Best Interests of Your Family
Estate planning is an action that is in the best interest of you and your family. A properly established estate plan can efficiently fulfill your desires without government intervention. Also, an estate plan can eliminate the expenses and delays that are associated with probate court. Additionally, a proper estate plan should include an advance health care directive, which can set forth your desires concerning healthcare and medical decisions. Without a well-established estate plan, the government will make decisions for you after your passing. Contact Sterzer & Associates, A Law Corporation today for the legal assistance you require!