Having a clear and comprehensive estate plan is beneficial for many reasons. Estate plans can offer you peace of mind knowing that your affairs are in order. Likewise, these documents can help clarify or avoid the probate process and ensure the swift distribution of your assets to beneficiaries after your death. In the past, estate planning meant little more than having a will. While this may still be a key component of a comprehensive plan, modern estate planning offers several options that bring increased flexibility and timing advantages.
With the help of an Anaheim trusts and estates lawyer, you could create an estate plan that fits your needs. From day one, a skilled attorney could work to understand your goals, suggest plans that meet those goals, and draft estate documents on your behalf.
Identifying a Person’s Estate Planning Goals
The goal of any estate plan is to ensure the proper distribution of one’s property in the future. Asset distribution can include accommodations that provide financial stability later in life as well as transfers after an individual’s death. Therefore, the first step in drafting a comprehensive estate plan is to identify—with specificity—a person’s physical property and assets, including:
- Cash in bank accounts
- Real estate
- Business assets
- Retirement accounts or life insurance benefits
Next, a person should name beneficiaries to their estate, which can include heirs in a will, the recipients of property, or personal representatives. Generally, any adult can serve in any of these roles. However, specific laws limit the naming of beneficiaries or personal representatives depending on their age. A hardworking lawyer in Anaheim could assist people with identifying their assets and naming beneficiaries who they wish to inherit their property.
How to Choose the Best Estate Plan in Anaheim
The foundation of a strong estate plan is a will, which helps control what happens in probate after one’s death. According to California Probate Code § 6110, courts will presume a will to be valid as long as it contains the signature of the testator and two witnesses.
As useful as wills can be, they are inflexible and subject potential heirs to a lengthy probate process. However, a trust may solve this delay. A trust allows for the transfer of property between two parties that occurs outside the probate process. To create a trust, parties must fund their asset and entrust it to a trustee. A trustee can then distribute the property to named beneficiaries at the proper time.
Additionally, moving property into a trust carries certain tax benefits for both the trust maker and the recipients of property. Finally, estate planning involving trusts can help trust makers qualify for certain government benefits and potentially avoid Medi-Cal recovery. A dedicated local lawyer could work with individuals to identify their estate goals and suggest testamentary documents that make those desires a reality.
Reach Out to an Anaheim Trusts and Estates Attorney Today
Developing an estate plan may seem like an intimidating and complex undertaking that is only necessary when considering one’s potential death. However, protecting your assets and ensuring a comfortable life for your family should be a top priority. In addition, modern estate planning techniques offer substantial financial advantages for the present and the future.
Let an Anaheim trusts and estates lawyer help you. A legal representative could work to identify your assets, determine what estate planning tools are right for you, and take the necessary steps to ensure your documents serve their intended purpose. It is never too early to begin planning for your future. Contact an Anaheim estates and trusts lawyer today.