Riverside California Estate Planning Experts
Many people do not want to think about facing death, but if you have a family, it’s essential to take appropriate steps for addressing the legal implications of your death. Estate planning is vital for anyone who intends to leave their property to their loved ones after they are gone. It’s essential to approach the estate planning process with clarity and recognize the benefits that a robust estate plan can provide to your loved ones.
My SoCal Lawyers offers legal counsel for both estate planning and probate. If you want to develop a comprehensive estate plan, we can help. Additionally, if a loved one recently passed away without any estate plan, our team can help you navigate the probate process and help you understand what to expect.
What Should an Estate Plan Include?
Your estate plan must include much more than just a basic will that outlines how you want to distribute your property after your death. My SoCal Lawyers can help clients develop wills and trusts, two documents that every estate plan must include:
- A will is a document that outlines your wishes for distributing your assets and possessions to your loved ones after your death. For example, if you want your spouse to have your home, want to leave your car to your child, and wish to distribute various family heirlooms to other relatives, you can outline these wishes in your will.
- A trust can provide financial protection for your family and help them avoid probate. By placing your property in a trust, ownership of the property transfers to your designated trustee, who will then distribute the property in the trust according to your wishes. We can help our clients develop revocable or non-revocable trusts, each with its unique benefits and drawbacks.
Our team can also help create an advanced care directive on your behalf that will outline your preferences concerning life support, palliative care, and hospice if you become unresponsive. We can also help you create a durable power of attorney that will empower your designated representative to make legal decisions on your behalf, essentially providing them the authority to sign in your name on official documents if you cannot do so.
When you work with My SoCal Lawyers for estate planning, you can expect close attention to detail from our team in every aspect of your estate plan. We can help you determine the best ways to ensure your family does not need to endure a lengthy and difficult probate process. However, sometimes probate is unavoidable. In these situations, we can provide legal representation to your loved ones and help them navigate these issues confidently.
Types of Trusts
There are two main types of trusts: revocable and non-revocable. A revocable trust allows the trustor to modify the trust after its creation, providing them more control over the trust than a non-revocable trust allows. However, since the revocable trust technically remains the property of the trustor until their death, a revocable trust is still subject to estate taxes. Conversely, a non-revocable trust is not taxable and can significantly reduce the overall tax burden on the creator’s family after their death. The only drawback is that once created, a non-revocable trust is legally set in stone and cannot be modified.
My SoCal Lawyers can help you determine which type of trust would be most suitable for your situation. We will assess your goals and preferences and analyze your assets to determine the potential tax implications they carry.
What Is Probate?
When a person dies, the state has a legal duty to ensure the appropriate distribution of their assets and property. The state’s laws of intestate succession typically determine how this property should be distributed. If a person dies without a will or any other estate planning documents, probate’s legal process begins. Unfortunately, the deceased’s loved ones may disagree with the probate judge’s determinations. If the deceased had no formal estate plan, the judge would apply the laws of intestate succession without any personal frame of reference for the deceased’s wishes.
It is also possible for a family to enter probate even when their deceased loved one had a seemingly robust estate plan in place. If any party with a legal claim on the deceased’s estate raises a dispute over the estate plan, the case will likely proceed to probate. Some family members could raise disputes that argue the will, trust, or other estate plan document in question was not created under legal conditions. For example, a will would be invalid if any evidence surfaces that it was created fraudulently, modified without the consent of the creator, or if the deceased created the will under duress, coercion, or without the cognitive ability to make sound legal decisions.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for Estate Planning?
It’s technically possible to create an estate plan on your own without the help of an attorney, but an estate plan you draft personally will not carry the same legal weight as one you create under the guidance of an experienced Riverside, California estate planning lawyer. The team at My SoCal Lawyers can work closely with you and your family to ensure appropriate guardianship for your children, assign care for your pets, minimize your family’s estate tax burden, and ultimately provide the highest level of legal protection for you and your family.
Your family is also far less likely to require participation in probate proceedings when you work with a Riverside, California estate planning attorney to develop your estate plan. My SoCal Lawyers can help you create as many contingencies as possible to minimize uncertainty and eliminate confusion for your loved ones, ultimately reducing the chances of disputes arising over your estate after your death.
If you are ready to start creating a comprehensive and legally enforceable estate plan with the help of a trustworthy and detail-oriented Riverside, California estate planning lawyer, contact My SoCal Lawyers today and schedule a consultation with our team. We will help you create an estate plan that offers peace of mind to you and your loved ones.