Estate planning is a long-term process that often requires weeks or months of preparation. With that in mind, it is never a bad time to begin drafting an estate plan. Unfortunately, tragedy can strike at any time. However, having a comprehensive estate plan in place after a person’s death is essential and could provide surviving family members with financial stability for the future.
Speaking with our dedicated attorneys could help parties understand the estate planning process in Orange County. Legal representatives will work to identify a person’s assets, choose an estate plan, and create the documents that give the plan legal power.
Documenting Assets Properly in Orange County
The first step in any estate plan is identifying an individual’s assets and property. Even if a party creates a valid will or another testamentary document, if those documents do not specifically name every part of a person’s estate, there may be disputes over what is to be done with that property after death.
Assets can come in many forms. The most obvious estate asset is physical property, like jewelry, vehicles, or furniture. However, an estate may also include real estate, bank accounts, stocks, or even control over a business. A local lawyer could assist individuals in identifying their assets and ensure the property is named correctly in their estate plan.
Decide Which Form of Estate Plan Fits One’s Goals
Estate plans come in many shapes and forms. The most common document in an estate plan is a will, which takes effect after a person’s death. Under the law, nominated executors of a will have a duty to ensure that a document’s terms are carried out properly.
However, more modern estate planning options can potentially lessen heirs’ tax burdens. For example, a trust can result in the transfer of property at any time to avoid complications after a person’s death. Trusts may also allow a party to provide payments to charities or remain in their home while another person legally owns it. As a result, estate planning in Orange County involves the correct choice of testamentary documents that serve to honor a decedent’s wishes.
Executing Relevant Estate Planning Documents
Once a party identifies their assets and chooses the document that best fits their needs, the last step is to create and sign the papers. When drafting these documents, the language of the law has a significant impact. For example, California Probate Code § 6110 says that a will must contain the testator’s signature as well as the signatures of two witnesses who observed the testator sign the document.
Similar laws control the proper execution of trusts, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents. A lawyer in Orange County can craft these papers in ways that give them legal power and ensure the proper execution of those documents.
Learn More About the Estate Planning Process by Talking with an Attorney
The estate planning process in Orange County does not need to be a frustrating experience. A diligent lawyer could help you build a comprehensive estate plan to provide peace of mind.
A legal representative could provide you valuable assistance with identifying assets, choosing the correct documentation, creating a plan, and ensuring documents are properly executed. Contact a legal team member today to learn more and schedule a meeting.