Estate Planning Lawyer in Sacramento
If you are planning on writing a will soon, you may want to speak to a Sacramento estate planning lawyer. For most people, writing a will is not a priority until a major life event occurs. However, there are a lot of benefits to crafting a will early as part of a more in-depth estate plan. Writing a will might not be pleasant, but it’s an important thing to do. Making big decisions regarding your future needs and the security of your estate is not always easy and can take you quite a while, so that’s why it’s best to begin the process early. It is normal if you are not sure where to start however. A skilled estate planning attorney may help you write your will correctly.
What Is a Will?
A will is a legal document that states who should receive your assets after you die. These assets can range from expensive items, like cars, vacation homes, to smaller items, like a painting, collectible or piece of furniture. Investments are also considered assets that are part of your state. A will allows you to state how you want your assets to be distributed and to whom. If your children are legally your dependents, you may also name the person or persons you wish to appoint as guardians so that they have the legal authority and obligation to take care of them.
When you write your will with the help of a Sacramento estate planning lawyer, you may also declare who will manage your estate after you die. An estate is typically managed by a family member of the individual. This person could have several responsibilities, including distributing your assets, paying your estate’s debts and taxes, and maintaining your property until it’s sold or distributed. The executor of your will should be completely trustworthy and capable of handling all the responsibilities that come with the job.
Should Spouses Have Joint or Separate Wills?
An estate planning lawyer in Sacramento, CA may advise against having a joint will with your spouse. It’s possible that some of your property and assets aren’t jointly held. For instance, a separate will may allow you to take care of property that was bought during a previous marriage. Having a separate will provides more clarity regarding how assets should be handled. You and your spouse may have conflicting views regarding control of your assets. To avoid confusion and ensure that each of your assets are taken care of, writing a separate will is the most practical and secure approach.
Where Should a Person Keep a Will?
It’s important to keep your original will in a safe yet accessible place. For example, you may want to keep your will in a fireproof safe in your house. Do not forget to let the executor of your will or your Sacramento estate planning lawyer know how to access these documents in an emergency.
How Often Does a Will Have to Be Updated?
While you may update your will as often as you wish, it may only be necessary to do it after major life changes. For example, if you recently had a baby, you may want to set up a meeting with your Sacramento estate planning lawyer and add your new son or daughter to your will. The recent adoption of a child is another example. Other major life changes may include a marriage, divorce, and death of a beneficiary. Generally, estate planning lawyers will advise that updating your will every three to five years is a good recommendation to go by so your will is always up to date.
What Are the Consequences of Not Having a Will?
If you don’t have a will at the time of your death, the state will decide who inherits your assets. Many people expect that their estate will be automatically handled properly. However, there is no guarantee that the state will fulfill or even consider your wishes regarding your assets. Without a will, they have the power to determine what happens to your assets. The judge will appoint an administrator, who will distribute your assets and assume all the other responsibilities of an executor. Because the administrator may be someone you and your family do not know, he or she may make decisions that don’t fulfill your wishes. If you do not write a will, there is a risk that the government will mishandle your assets or that your assets will end up in the hands of an unauthorized person. It may be in your best interest to write a will while you are still in good health.
There is no better time than the present to write a will. This important document may ensure that your assets go to the right people. If you are looking for a qualified Sacramento estate planning lawyer, contact the Yee Law Group, PC at 916-599-7297.
What To Expect During the Reading of a Will
Close Family Members and the Executor Are Named
At the beginning of the will list the deceased’s close family members. A Sacramento estate planning lawyer from Yee Law Group states that anyone listed here will typically receive something in the will. If a person is not going to be receiving anything, their name will likely not be mentioned in this section. The beginning of the will also list the person who will be the executor of the will. The executor of the will is legally responsible for taking care of any remaining financial obligations and for dispersing items as listed in the will. The executor may be expected to post a bond, which protects the estate in case the executor steals the funds of the estate.
The Gifts Will Be Listed
The chances are that the will lists specific gifts that are supposed to go to specific people. Most of the time, though, people do not actually leave specific gifts to certain people. Instead, they leave everything to one person or they split it between several people equally. There are other types of gifts as well, though.
- Conditional Gifts – Sometimes, there are conditions attached to the items listed in the will. This may be something such as a person getting a certain amount of money once he or she graduates college. However, implementing these gifts can be a headache for the will’s executor.
- Monetary Gifts – Money that doesn’t come from a particular source may be willed to be as a “general” gift.
- Personal Effects – Items such as jewelry or designer handbags are considered personal effects and may be willed to one or more people.
- Residual Gifts – This section is commonly left blank, but residual gifts are gifts left over that don’t quite fit into general or specific categories.
Regardless of what gifts are listed, it may be a good idea to have a Sacramento estate planning lawyer at the will reading if things might get complicated.
The Legalities of Reading the Will
Currently, no state legally requires the will to be read to family members or other beneficiaries. This doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done with the help of a Sacramento estate planning lawyer from Yee Law Group, though. It is still considered good etiquette in most families to read the will. Reading it aloud often avoids hard feelings between beneficiaries and can set the tone for how probate will play out. The executor of the will can gather anyone listed within the will and provide them with copies but should keep in mind that he or she has no legal authority until the will is entered into probate. If everyone cannot meet in person, reading the will over a video conference call is also acceptable.
Benefits of Working With an Estate Planning Attorney
Your Desires are Clearly Stated
When you work with a Sacramento estate planning lawyer, such as those in the Yee Law Group, you will have confidence that your estate documents clearly outline your desires. These attorneys understand the legal jargon and paperwork necessary to prevent the misinterpretation of your documents. They can identify wording errors that can cause a lengthy probate process.
These attorneys can also work through different scenarios with you. This helps them draft your documents accurately. These professionals seek to understand what your final wishes are so they can create the estate plan you desire.
Your Documents Are Updated
A reputable estate planning firm, e.g., the Yee Law Group, should conduct periodic reviews of your estate plan. During these reviews, you will go over any new assets and their distributions. However, your attorneys should also inform you of new laws that may affect you, your beneficiaries or your estate.
If your desires have changed, your attorney can either add an amendment to your existing documents or create new documents that reflect your new wishes. Since the goal is to avoid protracted probate, your attorney should seek to make your estate documents as specific and accurate as possible, which requires regular reviews.
Your Sacramento estate planning lawyer is a specialist in this field. These specialists complete extensive additional education in estate planning, wills and trusts. They also consistently review current and new laws so they draft your documents in accordance with state and federal law. Some of these professionals have even written books or scholarly articles about their fields. Therefore, you should feel confident that your legal documents adhere to state and federal regulations when you work with a qualified estate planning specialist.
Life Insurance and Retirement Account Beneficiaries
Your life insurance and retirement accounts aren’t necessarily covered under your will or trust. These assets typically pass independently. However, a reputable estate planning attorney can recommend options for these accounts. In fact, these professionals can help you retitle these assets so your estate plan does not leave them to state designation or distribution through the probate process.
You Gain Legal Resources
Your Sacramento estate planning lawyer is a legal resource you can use whenever you have questions. Because your professional contact with these individuals is ongoing, you can develop a professional relationship with them. This relationship gives you the confidence to contact your attorneys whenever you have a legal question, and if they can’t help you, they should be able to direct you to a legal professional who can. They can also more effectively guide your beneficiaries so your estate settles smoothly.
What You Should Know About Living Trusts
When deciding how to secure your finances, you may turn to advice from family and friends. Each person may give you a different answer, and you may wind up feeling more confused than ever. One tool you may have heard about is a living trust. You may not have delved further into the topic at the time since you didn’t necessarily believe that the process of creating a trust was relevant to you. However, the creation of trusts is not a process reserved for the financial elite. Virtually any adult could benefit from creating a trust, depending on their circumstances. It is therefore important to consider speaking with an experienced Sacramento estate planning lawyer from Yee Law Group before making any assumptions about your broader estate planning needs. A living trust is a special kind of financial shelter and estate planning element and may be worth exploring, depending on your circumstances.
The Purpose of a Living Trust
Much like a bank account, a living trust acts as a depository for you to place items of value. Something like property can be placed in a trust. Once you establish a living trust, anything you put within it becomes the property of the trust. The purpose of a living trust is to protect your assets so that they can be safely transferred. A designated trustee is appointed to oversee your living trust. Having a living trust is helpful because it enables your heirs to easily access the assets that you have distributed to them. For example, if you own an investment property, the ownership will legally transfer over to the name of your trust. A living trust, like traditional trusts, also has beneficiaries. When you die, the trust passes to those you have named without going through probate, which can be beneficial as California has a complex probate process. In fact, many people choose to work with an experienced Sacramento estate planning lawyer to create living trusts simply because they allow property to be passed along while avoiding the probate process.
The Advantages of a Living Trust
When you put something into a living trust, you are removing it from your net worth, which also means you are removing it from your tax returns. One of the reasons that working with a Sacramento estate planning lawyer to create a living trust is a popular process is because managing assets in this way allows people to minimize their income tax bracket while technically retaining control over an asset. After you’ve granted something to the trust, it will remain there unless you decide to remove it. If the trust is revocable, it can be changed or canceled at any time by the grantor. If this occurs, the property transfers back to the grantor and tax liability resumes.
When speaking with our experienced Sacramento estate planning lawyer team, you may want to ask whether creating a living trust is right for you. People with multiple assets or have multiple properties across different states may benefit from setting up a living trust. It is also beneficial for individuals with many extended family members. Depending on your circumstances, moving forward with a living trust may be one of the smartest financial decisions you ever make.
Common Myths About Wills
It’s becoming common knowledge that establishing a will is very important. However, some people are still reluctant to do so because they believe some of the myths surrounding these legal documents. Here are some of the most common myths about wills that a Sacramento estate planning lawyer hears about.
Wills Are Only for the Wealthy: While this might have been true a long time ago, it isn’t the reality today. Even if you come from modest means, it’s still wise to hire a Sacramento estate planning lawyer to help you establish a will. Almost anyone can benefit from writing a will. You do not need to own a large house or have high-value assets to create a will. It is always a good idea to have a plan in place that clearly establishes how you want your estate to be managed so that your family and loved ones can be taken care of in the future. If you have a family that depends on you, a will ensures they will be taken care of after you’re gone. If you have minor children, you can also state who you want to look over them if you die suddenly.
It’s Cheaper to Create a Will on My Own: Another reason why some people shy away from hiring a Sacramento estate planning lawyer to help them establish a will is because they think it’s too pricey. They instead attempt to create a will on their own with online estate planning software. While a will may seem like a pretty simple document to create, it actually involves many complexities. It may contain legal jargon that you’re not familiar with, causing you to make costly errors. It is easy to misunderstand legal terms or concepts, and there may be crucial details you might miss. Making a will with errors or missing information can take a lot of time and money to fix. Developing such a complex and important legal document can be complicated, so you can make the process easier by working with a lawyer to begin with. By investing in an experienced estate planning lawyer, you can actually save more money and headaches down the road.
Making a Will Takes Too Much Time: If you hire a skilled Sacramento estate planning lawyer, establishing a will shouldn’t take long at all. In fact, it shouldn’t take longer than a day for most people.
Once You Create a Will, That’s It: Many people are under the false impression that after you establish a will, you don’t have to look at it again. However, it’s important to reassess your will every time you experience a major life change. For example, if you get divorced, you likely don’t want your ex-spouse to inherit any of your assets. Unless you update your will, however, your ex-spouse can still receive your assets after you die. Other life changes that call for a will update include the birth of a child, marriage and death of a beneficiary.
If You Die Without a Will, the Government Gets Your Property: If you die without a will, it doesn’t mean that the government will get everything. If you have a spouse and/or children, they will inherit your assets. The only way the state gets everything is if you have no living relatives left.
I Don’t Need a Will Because I Can Just Tell People My Wishes: While you can tell your family who you want to inherit your property or who you want to take care of your children, none of this will be legally binding without a valid will. If you want to ensure your wishes are carried out, establish a will with the help of a Sacramento estate planning lawyer.
Why Do You Need an Estate Planning Attorney?
It is important to hire an estate planning lawyer when making these big decisions because your lawyer will know exactly how much you need to do in order to ensure your loved ones are taken care of after your passing. Having a law firm that you work closely with will be incredibly beneficial for your family and friends because the attorneys will take the extra stress and potential chaos away from the process of distributing your estate. A lawyer is helpful during the planning process, but they also take stress away during the distribution as well. Having an attorney help divide assets upon your passing helps eliminate a great amount of stress and can even diminish arguments that may be had over different items in your estate. This creates additional clarity regarding who gets what, and can help ease family member’s concerns about having a fair distribution.
What Are the Different Parts of an Estate?
There is a lot that goes into estate planning, which is why it is important to hire a lawyer when you decide it is time to begin thinking about your friends and family. Anything you own can be put into estate planning. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Bank accounts and money
- Stocks and bonds
- Real estate
- Collector’s items
- Family heirlooms
These are only a few things that can be in an estate plan. Really, anything that someone owns can be included in a will or a trust. People can even include their pets in an estate plan. It is important to speak with an estate planning law firm to figure out how to best protect your assets. This includes even protecting them from being collected by the government through taxes. Many estate planning attorneys will suggest giving gifts to loved ones as you age. This makes those assets unable to be taxed when they go through probate. An experienced estate planning lawyer will have many different tricks and tips on how to distribute your inheritance, which is why it is crucial that you seek help when it is time to begin planning how to divide your estate.
Who Can Create an Estate Plan?
It is never too early to create a will or a trust, especially if you have loved ones you want to take care of in the unfortunate event of your passing. Anyone can create an estate plan, but it is particularly important if you and your partner are not married, if you have children apart from the person you are married to, or if you want to leave your belongings to someone other than the person the law distributes them to. You can speak with an estate planning lawyer at Yes Law Group to learn about your many different options to protect your assets. Your attorney will offer advice and let you know how your possessions would be distributed right now, and how to make the right kind of plan for you and your loved ones.
Common Life Events that Warrant Contacting an Estate Planning Lawyer
An estate planning lawyer is a legal professional who understands the process of getting your affairs in order, so you are prepared for your eventual passing. You don’t have to have tons of money in the bank or numerous assets to benefit from having an estate plan. If you have anything of value, monetarily or not, that you want passed on to certain loved ones, then getting started drafting an estate plan is probably the next best thing.
If you are wondering whether you should start your estate plan, just the fact that you have asked yourself this likely means that it’s time. Here are some of the most common life events that often warrant contacting an estate planning lawyer for help:
You Have a Savings Account
Once you begin saving money, it is a natural next step to figure out where you want those funds to go in the event of your passing. This will confirm that your account will be passed on to the person you want to have it quickly, and without having to be handled by the court based on state laws. Without an estate plan, your money and assets will be controlled by the court.
You Got Married, Divorced, or Remarried
When you combine or are separating assets, it’s the right time to write or edit an estate plan. Taking the time to decide what happens if you or your spouse were to pass away is imperative, especially if you have children under the legal age.
You Recently Had a Child
Bringing a child into the world often motivates parents to consider how they can protect their baby’s best interests moving forward. By having an estate plan, a guardian can be chosen just in case a tragedy were to unfold and both parents passed away in an accident.
To speak with a dedicated Sacramento estate planning lawyer, consider contacting a lawyer from Yee Law Group today.
How to Minimize Family Conflict with Estate Planning
The last thing you want is for your family members to fight over your assets after you die. Unfortunately, however, family conflicts are not uncommon during the probating of an estate. The good news is that you can take steps to reduce the risk of conflict among your family members. Here are a few tips to consider.
- Appoint the right executor. The executor of your will is responsible for paying your debts and distributing assets after your death. It is a very important job, so you should make your decision wisely. If you appoint the right executor, you can minimize conflict among family members after your death. The executor should be trustworthy, communicative and impartial. If you do not think anyone in your family is up for the task, you can always hire a third-party, like a lawyer to handle the job.
- Establish an estate plan while you are still healthy. It is never too early to create an estate plan. In fact, the sooner you do it, the better. If you establish a plan with the help of a Sacramento estate planning lawyer while you are still mentally and physically healthy, you can reduce conflict among your family members. On the other hand, if you wait until you’re unable to communicate your wishes clearly, conflicts are more likely to arise.
- Discuss your estate plan with your family. One of the best ways to minimize conflict among your family members is to talk about your decisions early on with them. Sit down with your family in a private setting and carefully explain everything in your estate plan. For example, if you decided to give a bigger inheritance to one child because the other children are more financially stable, tell them that during the meeting. If your family members know the reasons behind your decisions, there will be less confusion and hurt feelings later on. This can reduce the risk of arguments.
- Make the necessary changes to your estate plan. It is likely that you will have to make changes to your estate plan at least once or twice during your life. Doing so can help avoid conflict after you are gone. For instance, if you had a falling out with a beneficiary, you may want to remove that person from your estate plan promptly.
Sacramento Estate Planning Lawyer
Estate planning is a crucial component of preparing for your future and that is why talking to a Sacramento estate planning lawyer is often a good idea. These legal documents are going to address every aspect of your end-of-life requests. While it is a daunting task to think about your life coming to an end, it is important to have these documents so your loved ones know how to handle your affairs according to your wishes.
When you start considering making your estate plan you need to have a lawyer. Finding one can be a daunting task all on its own but it doesn’t have to be. Below are the qualities that you should look for in your estate planning lawyer.
Focuses on Estate Planning
Estate planning is a complex task that requires a range of knowledge and skills. This is an area that needs a lawyer that knows what they are doing. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t want your general practitioner performing brain surgery, so why would you settle for anyone who isn’t an expert in estate planning? You wouldn’t, and that is why finding a lawyer that is specialized in estate planning is key.
A good lawyer is going to be able to create your estate plan and know the ins and outs of the process. Always ask how much of their work is dedicated to estate planning before considering them to be good for you.
You want someone who is going to stay in touch with you. Some of the most reliable lawyers are ones that stay in contact with their clients through the whole process. Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t stay in contact. If you have questions you are going to want them to be answered as quickly as possible. If you are being left with radio silence for days on end, it is time to consider a new lawyer and one that has the time to dedicate to you.
Works Quickly and Efficiently
Time is essential when creating an estate plan. Hopefully, you are making your plan before you reach the end of your life, but if you then you need someone who is going to dedicate their time to you. Most lawyers can prepare your first draft within a few weeks and finalize the plan in two months or less. If you are still waiting on your draft after the first month then the lawyer may have too many clients on their hands and won’t be able to prioritize your case. Always ask your lawyer what the timeline for your estate plan could look like before settling on a lawyer.
Make sure your lawyer is organized. You should be able to tell this when you meet up with them for their interview. If they are scrambling through papers to find what you need, chances are they have too many cases on their hands.
How To Choose an Estate Planning Lawyer
When you are in the process of planning for your family’s future, a Sacramento estate planning lawyer can help you navigate various complex issues. Finding the right lawyer to help you avoid critical mistakes involves the following steps.
Look for Specialization
When considering lawyers who can help you plan your estate, it is essential to look for specialization. Estate law requires an understanding of state and federal specific laws regarding wills, trusts, probate, and other topics. Estate lawyers must also have an in-depth knowledge of tax requirements to ensure they can offer clients appropriate guidance.
It is helpful to narrow down your choices to professionals with experience handling circumstances similar to your own when choosing a Sacramento estate planning lawyer. In addition, it is beneficial to ask potential candidates specific questions about areas for which you need expertise. For example, if you own a significant amount of property, the estate planning lawyers at Yee Law Group thoroughly understand the intricacies of real estate inheritance laws.
Ask About Fees
Consider creating a list of all the services you may want a lawyer to provide, and prepare to discuss fee policies. For example, if you have a complex estate and require substantial document creation and research, you may prefer a lawyer who charges a flat fee for services rather than one who charges by the hour. Try to ascertain the average cost for estate legal services in your area to help you know if a lawyer’s fees are reasonable.
Your Sacramento estate planning lawyer will play a significant role in your life, answering questions and concerns about your family’s future and also helping you manage essential relationships and worries. Spend as much time as necessary meeting with multiple lawyers, getting to know them individually, to ensure that you feel comfortable disclosing private details about family relationships and concerns with them. The estate planning lawyers at Yee Law Group are professionals you can turn to for advice throughout your life when you need someone you can trust working for you.
Ask for Referrals
If you struggle with finding an estate planning lawyer, you can begin by asking trustworthy family and friends for recommendations. If you know other people whose circumstances are similar to yours, you may want to ask them to relay their experiences, with the pros and cons of working with particular lawyers.
Finding a Sacramento estate planning lawyer you can trust with your family’s future requires careful consideration, but the benefits are worthwhile.
Looking for a Sacramento estate planning lawyer doesn’t have to be daunting if you know what to look for in a quality lawyer.
“I highly recommend the Yee Law Group. They are very professional and knowledgeable and I have always had a good experience working with their attorneys and staff. They have earned my trust and confidence for my future needs as well. Great job guys!”