Estate planning is an essential element of both asset protection and allocation. However, an estate plan is not just for the wealthy. An estate plan is simply a tool to ensure your assets are protected and distributed in such a way that works to your advantage and your family’s interests. By partnering with a California estate planning lawyer, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out.
Your estate includes your bank account, stocks, retirement fund, real estate, personal property, and life insurance policy. Essentially, it encompasses anything of value that you own.
The basics of estate planning include the following:
If a family member dies without an estate plan, this will complicate the grieving process of their loved ones. In addition to dealing with the loss, they will have to contend with probate court, disagreements over the decedent’s wishes, and the succession laws of the state. Your loved ones will enter into a costly and time-consuming process involving lawyer fees, court costs, and probate.
In order to prevent these difficulties for your loved ones, you will need to have a legal estate plan in place. A Vista estate planning attorney can assist you in the creation of an estate plan to secure your legacy. Remember, only you can create an estate plan and living will, which must be completed while you are alive and competent. Once you become incapacitated, it is too late to make these arrangements.
To create an estate plan, you will need to procure the following documents, where available:
Once you have gathered the appropriate documents, you and your attorney can begin creating a comprehensive estate plan. An estate plan can vary in complexity but will usually include:
The absence of a will will cause the court to appoint guardians for the children. Similarly, the absence of a will may also result in the allocation of your assets with no regard for your wishes. Creating a will is essential to see that your wishes are honored.
A: According to California’s succession law, when someone dies, 50% of that person’s property will normally go to the surviving spouse. The remaining 50% will be dispersed to that person’s children and other relatives like siblings and parents. When there is no immediate family, like a spouse, children, grandparent, or sibling, the inheritance passes to aunts and uncles, then nieces and nephews.
A: In California, an estate worth $184,500 or more is required to go to probate. This amount includes all assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, stocks, retirement funds, life insurance, and any valuable possessions. As such, many cases will have to go to probate. Probate will always be required for estates without a will but may also be required even with a will if the property owned was subject to probate.
A: Separate property is that which you owned outside of marriage or received as a gift or inheritance. If you were married with no children, your spouse would inherit 100% of your community property but only 50% of your separate property. Your parents or siblings will inherit the other 50% of your separate property.
A: The average cost for estate planning in California is between $250 to $7,500. The cost will be dependent on the complexity of the plan. Some attorneys offer flat fees for completing particular components of an estate plan like a living will or trust. A complete plan will include a will, a trust, an Advance Care Directive, and designation of trustees, guardians, and durable power of attorney.
You work hard to create a lasting legacy in your life. Protect your assets and ensure that your loved ones will be taken care of by creating an estate plan with an experienced attorney. Contact the law office of Paul V. L. Campo Attorney At Law, to guide you through the process of protecting your family’s well-being.