5 Crucial Elements of an Estate Plan

Estate Planning Lawyer Roseville, CA

When planning for the future of your estate there are five crucial elements that you should make sure are covered while making your plans for the future. Those elements include Will, Trust(s), Power of Attorney, Health Care or Medical Directive, and Beneficiary Designation.

Will

A will is a legally binding document that indicates who will receive your property and assets after your death. A will designates an executor, which is the person who will carry out those directives that you have listed in your will. A will identifies a guardian or guardians who will take care of your minor children or dependents if you die or become incapacitated. You can change your will throughout your lifetime. It’s important to keep your will updated especially after any major life events like a marriage, divorce, birth of a child, purchase of a property, etc.

Trusts

A trust is a legal arrangement that gives a trustee the possession of the legal title to the property on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. With a trust, the person creating the trust can dictate how and when beneficiaries will be able to receive the assets in the trust. There are two basic types of trusts: Revocable Trust and Irrevocable Trust. 

A revocable trust gives you the control of all assets in the trust with the freedom to cancel or change the terms at any time. An irrevocable trust is when the assets in the trust are no longer yours and you will not have the power to make changes without the beneficiary’s consent. An estate planning lawyer will be an important resource when it comes to deciding which trust could be the best for you and your particular situation. 

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a person who is assigned to step in and manage your affairs if you become ill or incapacitated. This person has the power to make financial decisions on your behalf. It’s important to designate a power of attorney if you are single. Without one, the court will select someone to serve as your guardian. 

Health Care or Medical Directive

A health care or medical directive designates someone to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions on your behalf. 

Beneficiary Designations

Beneficiary designations state who will receive your retirement plan benefits when you pass. These designations supersede what’s in your will. This is why it’s important to review your beneficiary designations regularly.

If you want to get a start on your estate planning then speaking with a professional like an estate planning lawyer in Roseville, CA from a law firm like Yee Law Group, P.C. could help you with the process and understand more how a real estate lawyer could help you with your situation.

Why Should You Have a Trust?

Sacramento Trust Lawyer

If you think that trusts are only for the wealthy, you’d be wrong. Even the “average” person can benefit from a trust.

Unfortunately, many people believe that estate planning isn’t for them. That their assets don’t qualify for protection. That has to be one of the biggest misconceptions. Everyone can benefit from establishing a trust and planning for the future of their estate. You have spent majority of your life creating a secure lifestyle for yourself and your loved ones. It deserves to be protected and to have the right people in charge when that time comes. 

I know, the process of estate planning can be complex for the average person which is probably why most people put it off, but putting it off doesn’t do any good for anyone. A trust is an agreement between two parties a settlor and a trustee. A trustee tends to agree to accept, manage, and protect assets that have been delivered by the settlor. 

That means the trustee will administer those assets according to the instructions of the trust, and distribute the trust income and principal that the trust states for benefit of the people identified in the trust. A trustee is to follow the trust terms and to follow through with your wishes for assets.

Why are trusts established? Here are few reasons…

  • Manage and control spending and investments to protect beneficiaries from poor judgement
  • Avoid court-supervised probate of trust assets
  • Protect trust assets from the beneficiaries’ possible creditors
  • Protect premarital assets from division during a divorce
  • Set aside funds to support the settlor if for some reason incapacitated
  • Manage unique assets that might not be easy to divide like vacation homes, pets, etc.
  • Manage business assets for planned business succession
  • Provide a structured income to a surviving spouse that protects assets for descendants if spouse remarries
  • Reduce income taxes or shelter assets from estate and transfer taxes

There may a variety of reasons as to way you might want to create a trust so that you can achieve your specific goals. Everyone has an unique situation and life isn’t cut and dry. Complexities arise even ones that you might not even think existed. That’s why working with a skilled professional like a trust lawyer could answer any of your questions or to get you on a path to clear understanding of what would be in your best interests.

If you want to get a start on your estate planning then speaking with a professional like a Sacramento trust lawyer from a law firm like Yee Law Group, P.C. could help you with the process and understand more how a trust lawyer could help you with your situation.

How a Real Estate Lawyer Could Benefit You

Sacramento, CA Real Estate Lawyer

An estate lawyer is a professional who has been trained in dealing with and passing on your wishes and assets to beneficiaries after you die. They also have skills in guiding you through planning for situations that involve you and the inability to take care of yourself for the rest of your life. An estate lawyer knows wills, trusts, and your local probate process. 

Real estate lawyers can possess other special skills like dealing with any real estate transaction. Whether that means buying or selling a property, a real estate lawyer could be a valuable resource to guide you through the process and to help with avoiding any costly mistakes while making one of the biggest decisions of your life.

You probably know that buying a home or selling a home isn’t simple. It’s a legal transfer of property from one entity to another, so there’s going to be a lot to take care of and to ensure those things are taken care of properly, which makes hiring a real estate lawyer an important step in the process. They will be able to represent buyers, sellers, or lenders. 

Hiring a real estate lawyer might even be required depending on the state that you live in and plan on purchasing property in. You may wish to hire a lawyer regardless of what state you live in to ensure that a professional is representing your interests exclusively. However, the involvement of a real estate lawyer varies from state to state and even within a state. For example, in California, the rules of needing a real estate lawyer differ from each county.

Here are some situations in which you might need to consider hiring a real estate lawyer:

Purchase Contract

Real estate agents are limited when it comes to filling out contract templates and will not draft them from scratch. That’s why it’s important to have a lawyer draft a contract for you, especially if your situation is a little more complex. A lawyer will also be able to give a legal review of the contract before anything is finalized. 

Closing On Home Sale or Purchase

There is a lot of paperwork involved with closing on a home or purchase and it’s going to involve dozens of pages of legal documents to review. A lawyer can assist a seller or buyer by guiding them through the paperwork and clarifying any intimidating or confusing information. 

Unique Situations That Require Advice and Negotiating

You might even find yourself in an unusual situation and will require assistance from a professional who is fluent in real estate laws. These situations could include:

  • Buying a home that is a special type of sale (estate sale, short sale, auction, or from a bank)
  • Purchasing a home in another state
  • Selling a home that’s involved in a divorce settlement
  • Selling a home that was owned by a family member and you’re in charge of their estate
  • Buying or selling property that has major issues like structural damage
  • You are involved in major financial issues and attempting to sell a property that has liens on it

That’s why consulting with a professional like a real estate lawyer in Sacramento, CA from a law firm like Yee Law Group, P.C. could help you with the process and understand more how a real estate lawyer could help you with your situation.

Do You Need a Trust?

Sacramento Trust Lawyer

You’re here because you want to understand what a trust is and if consulting with a trust lawyer could be the next and right step for you. 

A trust is a fiduciary relationship in which one party, known as a grantor, gives another party, the trustee, the right to hold title to property or assets for the benefit of a third party, the beneficiary. A trust can establish legal protection for the grantor’s assets. It ensures that those assets will be distributed according to the wishes of the grantor.  

Creating a trust can be an extremely important and beneficial tool when someone is planning their estate. A trust tends to avoid probate which means that your beneficiaries can gain access to your assets more quickly than if they were transferred using a will. 

Assets in a trust can be passed outside of probate meaning that it has the chance to save time and court fees. Establishing a trust could become one of the best decisions of your life and put your loved ones’ minds at ease during an already difficult circumstance. Additionally, if you pursue an irrevocable trust that could mean that it might not be considered part of the taxable estate. This would mean fewer taxes due upon your death, which could become a sigh of relief for your beneficiaries.

No one wants to think about life after they’re gone, but sometimes, that is the reality of life. 

You work hard throughout your life to create a happy and secure life for yourself and your family, you should want to make sure that everything will be taken care of when you are not around anymore. 

You don’t need a lawyer to create a trust, however, it could become one of the smartest decisions you’ve ever made. A trust lawyer has the knowledge and experience with working cases involving trust and estate planning. 

A lawyer will understand state and federal laws so that there won’t be any second-guessing when the time comes to distribute your assets. And if something does arise they will understand what your wishes are and how to help your loved ones resolve any issues that could come up after your death.

Trusts are intended to protect assets and direct those assets into the right hands whether that be in the present, future, or at a certain point in time that might even be far after the original asset owner’s death. A trust is backed by laws and it’s one way to ensure that your wishes will be followed out. 

While this is just a brief glimpse at what a trust is and how it could be helpful to you, there’s quite a lot to untangle when it comes to trusts and what type of trust might be good for you and your unique situation. That’s why reaching out to a professional like a trust lawyer who will understand your goals and how to fulfill them could be extremely beneficial to your life. Not to mention, give you a sense of ease.

That’s why consulting with a professional like a Sacramento trust lawyer from a law firm like Yee Law Group, P.C. can help you with the process and understanding more about trusts.

A Guide to Estate Planning

Estate Planning Lawyer

No one knows when their time will come, but everyone should have a plan in place in case something happens. An estate planning lawyer can help you create a will and other legal documents to ensure that your wishes are carried out after you die. If you don’t have an estate plan, the state will make decisions for you and your loved ones might not get what you wanted them to. Contact an estate planning lawyer today to get started on your own plan.

The Law Group of Iowa can help you create a will and estate plan that ensures your wishes are carried out after you die. We’ll work with you to make sure your family is taken care of, no matter what happens.

An Estate Plan Give You Peace

An estate plan may give you peace of mind and avoid unpleasant disputes among family members after your death. Despite the fact that almost half of Americans do not have one , a will is an important document to have in place because it protects your assets and makes things easier on your loved ones during what could be an emotional time for them.

 An estate planning lawyer can help you create a plan that ensures your wishes are carried out after you’re gone, and that your family is taken care of financially. 

What is a Will?

A will is the most basic type of document used in estate planning. A will states how your assets will be distributed once you pass away. It also names an executor of your estate, who is responsible for following through on your instructions, including paying off any debts or taxes owed by your estate and distributing the rest of its value to beneficiaries.

Finally, a will can also designate a guardian for minor children who survive their parents. The guardian has custody over the children until they reach adulthood. Without a will in place, it might not be clear who should raise the children in this situation. And if no one steps forward, then the state might decide who raises them instead.

An estate planning lawyer can help you create documents like a will and power of attorney that will help ensure your loved ones are taken care of if something happens to you. 

What Happens If You Don’t Have a Will

If you don’t have a will, your estate will be divided among your family members according to state law. That may not be what you want, so it is important to have a will. If you have minor children, you should name a guardian for them in a will. Even if you don’t have minor children and are married, you should still consider having a will.

An estate planning lawyer can help you create a will, power of attorney, and healthcare directive that will ensure your wishes are carried out after you die. They can also help you set up trusts and other estate planning tools to make sure your loved ones are taken care of. If you don’t have an estate plan, now is the time to get started. 

young man gives gift to woman

New Valentine In Your Life? How To Navigate Wills & Estate Planning

Next week is Valentine’s Day, some say the most romantic day of the year. In fact, the day is so romantic that it is estimated that approximately six million couples will get engaged that day. And while many of these couples will begin making wedding plans, one of the items that might be overlooked on their ‘to-do’ list is speaking to an attorney about creating a new estate plan. This is especially critical if the couple will be creating a blended family when they exchange their vows.

The Blended Family

Given the high divorce rate for second and subsequent marriages (more than 60 percent), it should come as no surprise that over half of all Americans have or will find themselves as part of a blended family. A blended family is one where one or both spouses have children from a prior relationship. Many blended families include adult children and grandchildren.

As with any life change, coming together as a blended family often has emotional issues, but these issues can be even more complicated when it comes to the financial factors that often need to be addressed when a couple marries. Having a solid estate plan in place can help minimize these issues so the family can focus on coming together emotionally and not worrying whether their parent’s new spouse or their new stepsiblings will have access to their parent’s assets should something happen to them.

Estate Planning with Your New Spouse

If you and/or your new spouse already have estate plans in place, you will need to revise them upon your marriage. You will need to consider what will happen to funds in any financial accounts you have, real estate, beneficiaries on retirement accounts and life insurance policies, family heirlooms, and more. A skilled Sacramento estate planning attorney can explain all of the options available to you, as well as what kinds of estate planning tools will be the most beneficial for your particular situation. Some of these tools can include:

  •     Wills
  •     Revocable living trusts
  •     Irrevocable trusts
  •     Healthcare proxies
  •     Power of attorneys

Contact Our Office Today

Congratulations on your engagement! Whether this is your first, second, or subsequent marriage, you will want to make sure to speak with a dedicated Sacramento estate planning lawyer. Keep in mind that one of the documents in your estate planning package can also include a prenuptial agreement, another helpful tool when couples are getting married. To learn more, contact  Yee Law Group today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Deciding Between a Will and a Trust

Wills and trusts are both time-tested methods of keeping your estate tidy after your death. When you create a will or a trust, you’re taking a step to ensuring your friends and family know what to do after you die, and you’re making sure that they receive whatever you’ve left behind for them.

But when it comes to estate planning, it can be confusing when you read into wills and trusts. You know that you want to make things a little easier for your loved ones after your death, but the two options seem so similar on the surface. Fortunately, as a trust lawyer from a firm like Yee Law Group, P.C. can explain, both will serve to preserve your legacy – just in different fashions.

It’s important to understand your options before you decide to start planning your estate. Read on to learn a little more about the difference between wills and trusts, and see how the right trust lawyer can help you plan out your estate and your future.

About Wills

At its most basic definition, a will is a list of assets and beneficiaries. This means your will lists everything you’re leaving behind, and everyone you’d want to bequeath assets to after your death. When you create a will, you’re coming up with a list of everyone you think should receive a slice of your pie. However, there’s always the chance for legal battles.

A big problem with wills is that there is plenty of opportunity for people to argue and contest the contents. Do you have any estranged family members? What about bitter exes? If they lawyer up, they can fight against the rightful beneficiaries to take what isn’t there, even though the will provides instructions that you left behind.

Another issue with wills is probate. Probate is the legal term for the process through which a will is executed. Probate is a nightmare, involving many steps from authenticating the will to paying off debts and tracking down and valuing assets. Probate takes months, and at every step there’s a new opportunity for something to go wrong or someone to argue.

Can you trust your family and friends to accept the instructions you’ve left behind? Do you think they’ll cooperate after your death, or will they be at each other’s throats? If you want to avoid putting them through unnecessary drama, you can create a living trust instead.

About Living Trusts

Living trusts are similar to wills: They’re a collection of assets and a list of beneficiaries who will receive whatever you’re leaving behind. However, there are some key differences with a living trust that make them a little more appealing than wills.

When you create a living trust, you’re actually naming a third party to handle your estate when you die. A trust means there’s no probate, which cuts out a lot of openings for legal action. Additionally, trusts are uncontestable. Your beneficiaries can’t argue about the contents of a trust, and it makes the entire process much more streamlined when it’s time to distribute assets.

Trusts require a bit more of a hands-on approach, and it takes a lot more effort to manage a trust. Fortunately, a trust lawyer can help you administer your trust and make life a lot easier for you and your loved ones. Get in touch with a trust lawyer today to get started.

Do You Know the Difference Between Wills and Trusts?

Do You Know the Difference Between Wills and Trusts?

If you’ve spent any time worrying (or planning) for your future, you’ve probably read a little about wills and trusts. Depending on how long you’ve been reading about estate planning, you might have a firm understanding of your options, or you might be totally lost.

There’s no shame in being unfamiliar with your estate planning paperwork, and as an estate-planning attorney in Minnesota from a firm like Johnston Martineau PLLP can tell you, you’re certainly not the first to dive into estate planning with minimal information. And of course, even if you know a few things about estate planning, it’s always a good idea to refresh yourself on the strategies you can take to ensure your family and friends have an easier time after your passing.

When it comes to wills and trusts, they seem largely similar. However, there are a few glaring differences for you to keep in mind. Read on to get a better understanding of wills and trusts, and learn what you can do to keep your future planned right, and your legacy intact.

What is a Will?

Wills are what we most often think of when it comes to estate planning. They’re official documents that list your assets and your beneficiaries, as well as your last wishes. When we talk about “assets” we mean everything you’ve built up for yourself over the years. This can include physical possessions like collections, heirlooms, and real estate, but assets also include your investments.

A will sounds relatively straightforward, and for the most part, it is. However, when you leave behind a will, your family and friends will have to go through probate, which is a lengthy and frustrating battle to get whatever you’ve left behind for them. Probate involves tracking down all your beneficiaries and letting them know that you’ve died, and it also means getting a court-involved to divide up all of your assets. As you can imagine, probate costs a lot of money – and there’s plenty of opportunity for debate.

What is a Trust?

Unlike a will, when you create a trust you’re actually naming the third party to handle your estate after you die. While wills and trusts both detail your assets and beneficiaries, trusts actually cut out the probate process completely. As an added bonus, trusts can’t be contested like wills. This means what you say goes, and people who want to argue and hold up the entire process won’t be able to throw a wrench into the process.

Also unlike a will, a trust requires more hands-on management. Trusts are so-called “living” trusts because they’re active while you’re still alive. This means you’re controlling what goes in (and out) of your trust during your lifetime. This can take a lot of work, and sometimes it can be quite expensive. However, trust makes things a little bit easier for your family and friends after your death.

Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer Today

In short, wills and trusts are largely similar but with a few major differences in their execution. A will is easy to set up, but difficult to execute. On the other hand, a trust requires active management, but the execution after your death is much more straightforward.

It can be challenging to learn about wills and trusts without the help of a qualified estate planning lawyer. When you reach out to an estate planning attorney, you’re getting important information you may have missed in your research, and you’re also getting a valuable resource for when you decide it’s time to plan your estate – and it’s never too early. Contact an estate planning attorney today to learn more.

Estate Planning Tips For Those Who Haven’t Started Yet

Estate planning is the task of designating to whom and how you want your assets distributed upon your passing. The purpose is to secure that beneficiaries will receive their inheritance in a way that is as prompt as possible, while minimizing income tax, gift tax, estate tax, and other issues. 

Estate planning may not seem like a fun task, especially because it will entail thinking about a time when you are no longer here with loved ones. However, if you want those closest to you to receive a piece of your legacy, then you must establish an estate plan. If you have yet to begin writing your estate plan, consider these tips:

Inventory Your Things

Many people think they don’t have enough assets in order to write an estate plan. But, this is simply not true. You may be surprised by the amount of tangible and intangible assets that you do own. Examples of tangible assets and intangible assets to inventory include:

  • Homes, land, real estate
  • Collectible items (art, antiques, coins, trading cards, etc.)
  • Personal possessions
  • Cars, boats, motorcycles
  • Savings and checking accounts
  • Bonds, mutual funds, and stocks
  • Health savings account
  • Life insurance policy
  • Business ownership
  • Retirement accounts

Establish Directives

An estate plan is not complete without certain legal directives, such as a trust, medical care directive, limited power of attorney, durable financial power of attorney, and more. Your lawyer can assess your assets and situation and let you know how may be most suitable to fulfill these roles listed. You must choose someone who is willing to take on the role in the event that they need to.

Review Beneficiaries

In your estate plan, you will have to write down the names of people and organizations that you wish to have a portion of your assets. Many people choose their spouse, children, close relatives, and best friends as their beneficiaries. However, you can also choose a charitable organization as well. Discuss your preferences with your estate planning lawyer. As an estate planning lawyer from W.B. Moore, Attorney at Law can attest to, most people can benefit from an estate plan regardless of how much assets they have, and sometimes the hardest part is just getting started.

Why Do You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer to Help You?

While planning your estate, you absolutely need the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer, like one from Theus Law Offices, on your side. There are many different things an estate planning lawyer will help you do so that your loved ones will be taken care of even when you are gone. It is important to have someone who knows what to do on your side so that you do everything properly and so that probate becomes a seamless process for your friends and family. You may even be able to help them avoid the probate process if you plan properly. Continue reading to find out some of the benefits of hiring an estate planning lawyer. 

An Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help Divide Your Assets

It is important to know exactly what you want to go to each of your loved ones when you pass away. You can make a will as detailed as you want and include items for any person in your life. You will want to appoint an executor who can help distribute your estate, but your lawyer will be the best person to assist in making sure each person gets what he or she deserves from your estate. Your lawyer will be an unbiased person who will just want to see your wishes fulfilled. 

An Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help Your Loved Ones Avoid Probate

Your lawyer will offer good advice on what you can do to ensure your loved ones will get the majority of your estate, rather than having the government heavily tax everything. One of the best tactics to avoid taxation is giving gifts while you are still around. Not only does this mean your friends and family will get more money or more value from the items that you give, but you also get to see their reaction and will be able to enjoy seeing them love things that you give. Your loved ones will likely feel more sentimental about things that you give while you are still around and will be able to show you how they are enjoying things from your estate. Your lawyer may also recommend putting money or items into a trust that your family and friends can access after you pass away. This is another way of avoiding heavy taxes. 

Contact a Lawyer Today

Even if you feel like it is too early to begin planning your estate or do not have enough assets to protect, you still can benefit from hiring an estate planning lawyer. Do not hesitate to reach out to one today to see how an estate planning lawyer can help you.