Long Beach Estate Planning Lawyers Helping Clients With Their Estate Planning Needs
Most people don’t like to think about what will happen when they pass away, much less plan for how their assets should be distributed. While procrastinating is a common response to the idea of creating estate plans, it is also a common mistake. Our attorneys assist many clients and their families with their estate planning needs and explain why having an estate plan in place sooner than later is a good idea to preserve the financial future of your family.
How Can Estate Planning Help Preserve My Assets?
Estate planning is a set of tools and documents that work together to determine how you wish your wealth and assets to be distributed after you pass away. When properly built, your estate plans can also shield your assets from unnecessary expenses, protect a loved one with special needs without affecting their eligibility for government benefits, and even keep certain assets from going through probate.
In addition, you may also include in your estate plans your wishes for how you would like to be treated in case of incapacitation and who should take care of your minor children if you were to pass away unexpectedly. Without estate planning documents, all of these important decisions may likely be left up to a judge. When there is so much at stake, procrastinating on writing your estate plans may be a risky proposition.
What Should I Include as Part of My Estate Plans?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to estate planning, so plans may vary from person to person. The most basic estate plans may consist of a last will, a power of attorney, and an advanced healthcare directive. Some people may find it advantageous to create and include a living trust as part of their estate plans. Others may also choose to include documents such as a financial power of attorney, beneficiary designations, and guardianship designations.
While having only a will and no other documents is better than not having a will at all, it is important to be aware of the fact that a will may not take care of all aspects that may affect your estate. A will alone cannot shield your assets from creditors or keep your estate out of probate – there are specific estate planning tools designed to work in conjunction with your will and other documents to better preserve your property. If you are not sure which estate planning tools and documents are right for you, your first step should be to consult an estate planning attorney.
What Is Probate in California and What Can I Do to Avoid It?
Probate is a legal process in which a court oversees the distribution of a deceased person’s assets according to their will. The person named on the will as the executor will be appointed by the court to handle the decedent’s affairs, pay any taxes and debts, communicate with beneficiaries, and distribute the assets according to the wishes of the person who passed away.
Smaller estates valued at $166,250.00 or less may be able to go through a simplified probate process, and not every asset in an estate is subject to probate. A common strategy to avoid probate is to create a living trust, allowing assets to be directly passed on to beneficiaries without court supervision.
What Can a California Estate Planning Attorney Do to Help Me?
Estate planning may not exactly be a pleasant or exciting process and most people do not look forward to it, but the truth is once it is in place, it can give you and your loved ones the peace of mind of knowing their future is safeguarded no matter what tomorrow holds.
Naturally, choosing your estate planning documents and writing them properly can be a gargantuan task without the help of a skilled professional. At Barilari & Williams, LLP, our legal team is dedicated to helping you create customized estate plans with efficiency and professionalism. Contact our Long Beach office at 888-EST-PLAN to get started.