Effective estate planning requires a deep understanding of relevant laws. While general concepts of estate planning apply nationwide, the probate courts in Orange County follow specific procedures when determining the property rights of heirs and evaluating an estate’s tax burdens.
If you are forming an estate plan, you should take time to learn the unique aspects of wills in California and how they apply to residents of Orange County. Knowing these laws will ensure your property moves to the correct heirs after your death. An experienced wills attorney could provide further information and answer any questions you may have during an initial consultation.
The State’s Unique Intestacy Rules
A unique estate planning concept in California involves the state’s intestacy laws. These rules apply when a person in Orange County dies without a will or when their will does not contain provisions regarding their property.
According to California Probate Code § 6402, the court must examine the rights of all the decedent’s living relatives and assign property rights according to their connection to the decedent. Any decedent with a surviving spouse and living children will split the deceased person’s property, with one half going to their spouse and the remainder being divided evenly among their children. Though, a spouse will always receive a minimum of a one-third share. A knowledgeable attorney in Orange County could provide further clarification on these unique laws.
Tax Issues That Apply to Orange County Estate Planning
Another common concern elders have when estate planning is the idea of an estate tax. While California is not unique in being a state that does not collect an estate tax, this vital information could help Orange County residents better plan their heirs’ financial futures.
It is also important to recognize that all estate planners nationwide must consider their tax liabilities under the federal estate tax. As of 2023, this only applies to estates with a value in excess of $12,920,000. Talking with a seasoned wills lawyer could help individuals limit the impact of this tax on the value of their estate and the unique role that Orange County laws play in the process.
Special Rules Concerning the Formation of Wills
Another concept to remember when forming one’s will is the rules that control the proper formation of such documents. Generally, any person over 18 and in sound mind may author a will; however, there are steps a person can take to improve the will’s authenticity and legal impact.
One common example is CA Prob. Code § 6110. This statute says that a probate court can presume a will’s authenticity if the author signs the will in the presence of at least two witnesses. These witnesses must also sign the document.
Contact an Attorney Today To Discover More About the Unique Aspects of Wills in Orange County
Several concepts under the law in California directly impact Orange County residents and their ability to plan for the future. This applies regardless of whether you are forming a new will or modifying an existing estate plan.
Understanding the unique state laws that apply to these situations is vital to protecting your legal rights. These include rules concerning the formation of wills, those that determine the property rights of heirs in the event of intestacy, or even tax concerns.
A well-practiced legal professional is prepared to discuss these key topics with you and explore your options for creating a more stable future. Call now to discuss the unique aspects of wills in Orange County that could affect your plans.