Will Lawyer Sacramento CA
When you’re unsure about whether or not you need a will lawyer Sacramento CA offers, you can contact Yee Law Group for a free consultation. Some people choose to create their own living wills without the assistance of a lawyer. However, if not done correctly, legal problems could ensue — especially when excessive wealth or assets are involved.
Yee Law Group has decades of experience in the creation of living wills and trusts. As a will lawyer Sacramento CA families can depend on for legal counsel, we understand the complex laws and finite details relevant to drawing up important legal documents. To find out how we might be able to assist you, please contact Yee Law Group for a free consultation.
What is a Will?
A will, a living will, or an advance directive all refers to a legal document that enables the bearer to state their last wishes for assets, financial wealth, medical care, and more. Without having a verifiable document that expresses your wishes after death, painful disputes and legal woes could quickly ensue.
How to Create a Will
Each state has its own laws pertaining to the creation of a will. Some people choose to write a will on their own, but many retain a will lawyer in Sacramento CA. In general, you can state your wishes in as much or as little detail as you’d like. The most crucial part of a will is to have it notarized; without doing so, it may not be valid in a court of law. As soon as you and a notary witness or lawyer signs it, the will is considered to be “in effect.” At any time while you are alive, your will can be revoked or updated as often as you like.
Understanding the Role of an Executor
When you have lost a loved one, the probate process will quickly ensue. Coping with the emotions of grief can add to the challenges of how best to proceed. Unless you have done this before, performing the necessary tasks can be overwhelming. Sometimes a testator will name a person to act as an executor, but in many cases it won’t be until the testator dies that an executor will need to be chosen. If you are in this situation and trying to determine who is best suited to the role of executor, consider the following:
Knowing What the Role of an Executor Is
The executor will have a number of tasks related to the estate. After filing the death certificate with the California court, they will need to focus on resolving any financial issues related to the estate of the deceased person. Assets will need to be located, and valued. Any outstanding debt must be paid off (including taxes). Beneficiaries should be located, and once all debt has been paid, the remaining assets will be distributed according to the will.
Selling the Home
If the deceased was not married, it is highly probable that the beneficiaries will sell their home or property. When this is true, the executor will need to prepare the residence to be sold. When the deceased was married at the time of their death, the spouse might choose to relocate. In this case, the executor would need to manage the sale, as well as any tangible assets within the property.
As a Will lawyer in Sacramento, CA might explain, the executor will also be tasked with updating the title or deed of the residence prior to it being sold.
Additional Issues the Need to Be Resolved
If addition to settling debts and distributing assets, the executor may be required to:
- Facilitate the sale of the house and assist with any relocation
- Liquidate investments in a retirement account
- Find and access any safety deposit boxes
- File taxes with the state and IRS
- Resolve any complicated tax issues
- Shut down or turn off utilities, cable accounts, yard services, pool services, garbage services, and so forth
Writing Your Will: Do’s and Don’ts
Having a will ensures that your final wishes are honored and your loved ones are cared for after you die. However, writing a will is not a simple task. There are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure that your will is valid and all of your final wishes are carried out.
Do Consult a Lawyer
A will is a legal document, so you should hire a lawyer to help you write it. A will lawyer in Sacramento can ensure that all the details are covered, all of your assets are accounted for, and nothing is overlooked. Your attorney from Yee Law Group, PC can make sure that your will follows all legal requirements; if it doesn’t, it may not be legally binding.
Don’t Put Funeral Plans in the Will
Some people make the mistake of including their funeral wishes in their will. While this may seem logical, you should be aware that your will may not be read until after your funeral. If you have specific wishes about your funeral and what is to be done with your body, write them down separately and discuss them with your family.
Do Assign an Alternative Executor
Assigning an executor is an important decision. However, you should prepare for the possibility that your chosen executor may be unable or unwilling to fulfill the duty. Choose an alternative executor whom you trust to take over if needed.
Don’t Forget About Pets
Millions of animals are surrendered to shelters every year. Often, animals are relinquished because their owners have died. Avoid this situation for your animal companions by making arrangements for them in advance. Although your pets are part of your family, they are legally considered property, so keep that in mind when writing your will. Your will lawyer in Sacramento can help you make sure your furry friends are provided for.
Do Update Your Will Regularly
Your will needs to be updated every time your circumstances change. Marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, new assets or needing to change your executor are just a few examples of reasons to update your will. In this situation, you should not just alter the physical document; this can render your will invalid. Instead, contact Yee Law Group, PC and speak with a lawyer. A will lawyer in Sacramento can help you update your will.
Don’t Keep Your Will a Secret
Having a will does no good if your loved ones don’t know about it. While talking about death can be difficult, it’s important to make your family aware that you have written a will and let them know where to find the document.
How To Prepare for Your Will Attorney Appointment
Make Your List
Your first task in preparing to meet with a will lawyer in Sacramento, CA, is to write down a list of questions. For example, you may be looking for ways to reduce the future taxation of your heirs, so you may ask for tax strategies. You may wonder whether you need a will if you already have a trust. You may also be concerned about your desires being upheld after death. Finally, you may wonder what qualities to look for in a trustee, executor, or power of attorney.
You should also make a list of your assets and heirs. You should consider assigning heirs to your assets as well. Don’t forget your digital assets.
If you are meeting with an estate planning law firm, e.g., the Yee Law Group, you should ask about the process and how long it will take, but you may also ask about the other end-of-life and estate preparations the firm suggests.
Choose Your Executors, Trustees and Agents
If you only have a will, you need to choose one or more individuals to execute it upon your death. If you have a trust, you need to name trustees. You can be a trustee, but you should have at least one other individual who you believe will appropriately manage your trust if you are incapacitated or die. Some people choose to name their attorneys as trustees.
However, if you become incapacitated, you also need individuals who you trust to manage your finances and make your healthcare decisions. If you don’t have anyone you trust for any of these positions, you should ask who your attorney recommends. They will often provide you with contact information for professional fiduciaries.
Any reputable firm, such as the Yee Law Group, will advise you to choose guardians for any of your minor children. These individuals should be consulted and agree to be guardians before they are named in your will. They will be responsible for the physical, religious and emotional upbringing of your children, so choose wisely.
Gather Your Documents
Your will lawyer in Sacramento, CA will need all your documents before a will can be created. For example, you will need copies of all your outstanding debts, as well as deeds to any real estate. You should include your bank and investment statements, business agreements, intellectual property documents, life insurance policy information and any other financial, business or personal documents, such as marriage certificates or divorce agreements, you need. Don’t forget your list of assets.
Pursue Open Communication
Your attorney should regularly communicate with you about the process of your will’s creation and the status of your estate. You need to regularly speak with your attorney to update any of your information. For example, if you pay off a debt or purchase another valuable asset, you should let your lawyer know immediately.
Is Your Estate Plan Outdated?
When a person decides to embark on estate planning, they seldom revisit the plan once the paperwork has been signed and sealed. Life is forever evolving. Children grow up, divorce happens, beneficiaries pass away, corporations dissolve, your attorney may have retired, or the fiduciaries become too elderly and unable to fulfill the responsibilities they have been entrusted. If several years have passed by since you last reviewed your estate plan, an attorney at the Yee Law Group can help you avoid any pitfalls that can occur from an outdated trust or will. Here are five indicators that you should revise your estate plan.
Your Children Are Now Adults
If your children were minors when you completed your estate plans, and they are now old enough to act as fiduciary, you should consider revising your documents. It is essential to have a conversation with the beneficiaries and compose a letter of instruction to help reduce confusion at the time of your death. This letter should contain contact information to your estate planning group members and a stock book of your valuables, including digital assets like picture libraries, social media accounts, and email addresses.
Tax Laws May Have Changed
Your financial portfolio has probably increased significantly over the years. Laws that were applicable at the time your estate plan was drafted could have changed. Exemptions for gift and federal estate taxes have more than likely changed if your will was written several years ago. A will lawyer in Sacramento, CA will help you understand these changes and work with you to update your documents accordingly.
The Executor or Trustee Are Incorrect
If your executor or trustee has passed away or is too elderly to manage your assets, you will need to appoint another fiduciary to carry out your wishes.
You Recently Moved
Each state may have different laws that could change specific components of your will. If you have moved to California since completing your estate plans, a will lawyer in Sacramento, CA can review your documents and update the contents to comply with CA laws.
Power of Attorney Is Incorrect
It is important to review and update your power of attorney if the person who is appointed can no longer fulfill the obligation. If your children are now adults and are competent enough to act as your power of attorney, then it is a good idea to make the change. Contact the Yee Law Group, and a will lawyer in Sacramento, CA can review your estate documents for accuracy.
Choosing a Professional Executor
When a high value estate is involved, it is recommended to choose a professional executor to take care of everything. For some this will be a will lawyer in Sacramento, CA. The same is true when there is a heightened risk of a dispute amongst heirs to occur. If this is anticipated, a professional executor might be useful.
Advantages of Hiring a Will Lawyer Sacramento CA Relies on for Legal Counsel
Having a lawyer draft a will can give you complete peace of mind. Yee Law Group is ready to make sure your will complies with all federal, state, and local laws. Tax advantages for your estate and heirs may also be considered and thoughtfully planned to give your beneficiaries maximum gain.
Contrary to what you may think, a will can be drawn for more than the distribution of wealth and assets. When you contact a will lawyer Sacramento CA trusts, he or she may advise you on any of the following matter pertaining to wills:
- Naming a beneficiary for financial power of attorney
- Giving permission for an individual to have access to important account
- Creation of an ethical will which entails your reasons for wealth and asset distribution
- Drawing up a legally binding last will and testament
Who Should Consult a Will Lawyer?
There are a few instances in which having a lawyer draw your will could be highly beneficial. If you fall into any of the following categories, you may want to speak with Yee Law Group for a personal consultation.
- You have assets in multiple states or countries
- You have minor children
- You’ve been remarried
- You own a business
- You possess assets worth over $1 million
- You don’t understand the associated forms
If you’re considering establishing a will, it’s important to get in touch with a will lawyer in Sacramento CA. Wills are complex legal documents, so you want to have someone with knowledge and experience on your side. A lawyer can help you create a valid will that clearly states your wishes.
How to Minimize Conflict Among Family Members
After the death of a loved one, it’s quite common for family members to bicker with one another regarding the estate. Some family members might not feel like they’re getting their fair share and create conflict within the family. The last thing you want is for your family to fight after you’re gone. Here are some tips to minimize conflict.
- Clearly state who you want to receive your personal items. Estate planning isn’t just about determining who you want to inherit your homes, retirement account and other financial accounts. Many people forget about smaller, personal items, such as jewelry and artwork. To prevent your family members from fighting over these items, clearly state who you want to receive them after you’re gone.
- Have a conversation with your family. It’s a good idea to discuss the details of your will with your family members in a comfortable setting. If you thoroughly explain why you made the decisions you did, there is less likely to be conflict in the future. For instance, if you plan to leave one child a bigger inheritance because he or she isn’t as financially stable as the rest, explain that to everyone. Encourage your family members to ask questions during the conversation.
- Appoint a neutral third-party as your executor. It’s common for people to name family members as their executors. While this can sometimes work out, it can also increase the risk of conflict. That’s why your will lawyer in Sacramento CA may suggest appointing a third-party, like a corporate trustee, as the executor. This professional won’t be biased and will make sure everything is handled fairly.
- Give away possessions during your lifetime. There is nothing wrong with gifting your family members while you are still alive. In fact, it can be rewarding and minimize conflict after you are gone. Therefore, if you want to give your kids family heirlooms while you are still alive, go for it.
Planning your estate is a very personal process and can be easier with the help of a will lawyer Sacramento CA families trust. Finding a will lawyer in Sacramento CA to help you work through this process to achieve peace of mind about your final wishes is important. Our firm can provide you with a will lawyer Sacramento CA community members turn to for assistance. Our attorneys are knowledgeable about all applicable laws and can make sure your final wishes are clear.
There are specific needs you should consider addressing if you are married and childless. If you pass away and you don’t have a will and have not named a beneficiary, it is the state’s responsibility to locate your nearest living relative for them to inherit your estate.
When You Do Not Have a Will
The order for receiving benefits when you do not have a beneficiary is:
- Your husband or wife.
- Children, if alive, and if not, your grandchildren.
- Brothers or sisters, if any, otherwise nieces and nephews.
- Children of a deceased spouse.
- Relatives of a deceased spouse.
- The state where you are a legal resident.
Without having a will you run the risk of having the state decide who or where your assets end up. The state will give your estate to an heir rather than a beneficiary. With a will, you are able to choose someone specific, a beneficiary, to receive part or all of your estate. You may consider leading part of all of your estate to a close friend, a charity, an alumni organization, a business partner, or in a trust to care for a child or a pet. A will lawyer Sacramento CA residents choose to help them in these matters can address your concerns about who should inherit your assets.
Choosing an Executor of Your Will
In addition to the will, you will need to choose an executor, someone whose job it is to follow through with the instructions in your will. The executor can be the same person you choose to be your beneficiary, but it doesn’t have to be the same person. You can also select a lawyer to represent you.
Another important reason singles need to consider estate planning is to create a healthcare directive in the event you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for yourself. Without this directive, the state will choose an heir (relative) to be your voice. This could be someone you would not choose if you had say in the matter and may not be acquainted with your beliefs or wishes, such as being an organ donor or being kept alive artificially.
If you are not married but reside with your partner, the state may disregard your partner’s voice regarding your estate after you die. In a legally recognized marriage, if you die without a will, your spouse and children will most likely inherit your estate. If you want your unmarried partner to inherit your estate, it is imperative you have a will or trust that lists your partner as the beneficiary. Talk to a will lawyer Sacramento CA locals recommend from our firm to ensure this is taken care of as soon as possible.
The Importance of Estate Planning
Estate planning is very important for single parents. If something happens to you and you do not have a will, your minor children could be left without someone safe who you want to be their legal guardian. If the other parent has rights to the custody of your children, the will cannot supercede the rights of the other parent; however, you can leave a note stating why you want someone other than the other parent as a guardian to your surviving child or children. Ultimately, it is up to the judge to conclude what is best for the children. However, the note in your will may have some influence in determining the guardianship of your children.
Do not put off creating your will. The sooner you get your estate plans in order with the help of a Sacramento will lawyer, the more you can focus on living and not what happens when you’re gone! The lawyers at Yee Law Group are here to help. Call us today at 916-927-9001 to request a complimentary consultation with a respected will lawyer Sacramento CA offers.
Contact a Will Lawyer in Sacramento CA for a Free Consultation
Regardless of why you may think you need a will, you can speak with one of the lawyers at Yee Law Group. We can answer your questions and let you know what options may be best suited to your own particular needs. To schedule a consultation with a will lawyer Sacramento CA can provide, please call 916-927-9001.
“Michael Yee has been extremely professional in helping me navigate through various legal matters regarding housing laws over the years. He has always been easy to get ahold of, very knowledgeable, easy to talk to, straight forward, and ultimately an important advocate for me. His prices are always fair, and there are never any hidden surprises or fees. Michael Yee knows how to get the job done. I cannot recommend him enough.”