Wills & Trusts
You need to make decisions with reference to whom you trust to make your financial and health resolutions. You have worked hard for your possessions. It is vital that you elect who will inherit these assets and when they will inherit them. When you do not plan for the future, the government determines who inherits your estate. The courts will decide who will raise your minor children.
Understanding the Big PictureAn Estate Planning attorney can help you understand the big picture and plan your estate accordingly. Your estate is the total value of all of the assets you own. Estate planning is defining exactly how your assets will be distributed and to whom.
WillsA Will (Last Will and Testament) is the most familiar component of an estate plan. A will is a testamentary instrument that allows one to create instructions on how one wants the assets that will survive him or her to be distributed. The creator of the Will, or testator, names the beneficiaries and the person(s) who will administer the estate, or executor.
The Will is kept in a safe place and after the testator passes on, the executor administers the estate through probate, or the court system. Although probate requires administration through the court system, which can be costly and time consuming, there are some reasons why one may still need a Will.
Advantages Of a Will:
Disadvantages Of a Will:
TrustsA revocable inter vivos trust is commonly referred to as a living trust. As the name implies, it is created during the settlor’s (creator of the trust) lifetime. A living trust can be an effective and useful estate planning device.
The trust instrument allows one to define how his or her assets will be distributed when he or she passes on. Typically, the settlor names himself as the trustee and names a successor trustee in the event of death or incompetence.
Like a Will, a living trust allows the beneficiaries to avoid the burden of probate and can have some tax saving benefits. Over years, living trusts have grown in popularity and are often preferred over Wills.
Advantages Of a Trust:
Disadvantages Of a Trust:
BEYOND THE WILL AND LIVING TRUSTIf you are a few or more years from retirement, it is also a good idea to review your retirement plan while you are doing your estate planning.
Knowing generally what your retirement plan will provide at the time of retirement, and whether this amount will allow you to maintain a comfortable standard of living after retirement, is of paramount importance. Jones Legal has the tools to assist you in this area as well.
During estate planning, one may also decide to execute an advanced health care directive (AHCD) or a durable power of attorney. An AHCD is a legal instrument that gives instructions to your physician and other health care providers as to the circumstances under which you want life sustaining treatment provided, withheld, or withdrawn.
A durable power of attorney is a legal document where the principle elects an agent to act on their behalf on matter defined in the document (usually health care and finances). A durable power of attorney remains in effect should the principal become incapacitated.
An AHCD is different from a durable power of attorney for health care because it does not cover anything besides your wishes for life sustaining treatment.
Important Note:Not all Wills are required to go through probate. California allows an exception for estates valued under a certain amount. Furthermore, not all property or assets are counted toward this limit. Therefore, a Will may be a better option than a living trust depending on the characteristics and value of your estate. We can review your circumstances to determine the better option for you.
AN ESTATE PLAN MAY ALSO BE COMPRISED OF THE FOLLOWING:
Jones Legal can assist you in navigating the estate planning process which can be a daunting undertaking on your own. We listen carefully to discern your needs, goals, and wishes to devise the right estate plan for you.
Disclaimer: The information and material provided on Jones Legal's website are intended for informational purposes only. They are not intended as legal advice, or intended to establish an attorney/client relationship, and should not be construed as such.