Sacramento Estate Planning Lawyer
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 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.
Mistakes to Avoid With Estate Planning
Estate planning can ensure that your final wishes are carried out and that your family is taken care of. However, it is important to avoid certain mistakes to ensure that your plan does what you need it to do. Here are some common estate planning mistakes to avoid.
- Waiting too long to establish an estate plan. Nobody likes to think about mortality. In fact, some people put off creating an estate plan because they’re young and healthy. However, this is a big mistake. Just because you are young and healthy right now, doesn’t mean that something unexpected can’t happen. You want to make sure your family members are taken care of if you should die suddenly.
- Failing to update your estate plan when necessary. Once you create an estate plan, you can’t just forget about it. It is necessary for most people to update their estate plans several times throughout their lifetime. When you’ve experienced a major life change, like a divorce or birth of a child, you should have your Sacramento estate planning lawyer review your estate plan as soon as possible.
- Not considering your digital assets. During estate planning, many people forget about their digital assets. However, in this digital age, it is important to consider these assets in your plan. You should clearly state what you want to happen to your digital assets, like social media accounts, after you are gone.
- Forgetting to let your heirs know where you stored your estate plan. An estate plan won’t do any good if your heirs can’t find it after you are gone. That is why you should let your family members know where your estate plan is located.
- Not discussing your estate plan with your beneficiaries. It is a good idea to talk to your beneficiaries about the details of your estate plan as soon as possible. This way, there will be fewer surprises later and hopefully fewer disputes as well. For example, if you plan on giving one child a bigger inheritance because he or she has struggled financially, you should explain that to everyone.
- Forgetting about final arrangements. When your loved ones are grieving, you don’t want them to deal with the added burden of deciding how to hold your funeral. That is why you should specify in your plan what type of memorial service you want.