Just had two clients contact me with mothers on their death beds. In one case the woman was still able to think rationally, make decisions, and sign documents. I was able to do a trust for her which saved her family thousands of dollars in probate fees, when she died a few weeks later. In the second case, the woman was under the influence of strong narcotics for pain control, sleeping most of the time, and just didn’t want to be bothered. Her only child will pay thousands for attorneys fees and probate costs in the next year.
Estate planning is a smart way to provide for your family’s financial future after you pass away or to handle your own financial affairs if you become incapacitated or an emergency occurs. Putting off dealing with your financial affairs could end up costing you or your family thousands of dollars more in attorney’s fees and California probate or conservatorship costs. Establishing a trust will protect your family against these added costs and delays. It also lets you decide who should inherit your estate.
Avoiding Probate and Conservatorships
If you don’t have estate planning documents, the transfer of your assets would be subject to a formula in the probate code. Your estate may not go to the people you want to receive it. For example, your spouse who needs all of the family assets to bring up your young children may watch some of the money go to the children instead, and remain tied up until the children turn 18. Or let’s say you become disabled. Having a trust and health care power of attorney in place allows you to pick someone you trust to handle your money and take care of you.
Establishing joint financial accounts, holding title to property in joint names with the right of survivorship, naming beneficiaries in life insurance policies and pension accounts and transferring assets transferred to a trust are all ways to avoid probate. This way, your family gets to inherit your assets automatically and immediately. However adding someone else’s name to your accounts or property can have important financial consequences and for anything more than small amounts of money should not be done before consulting with a California estate and trust lawyer.
Hiring aCaliforniaprobate and trust attorney will almost always save you and your family much grief and a lot of money. The attorney can assess your financial situation, give you advice about the best way to plan for your family’s financial future and the management of your assets and prepare the necessary legal documents. The attorney can recommend other professionals that you may need to assist you with the management of your assets such as private professional fiduciaries or institutional fiduciaries, a CPA or other persons as well.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office at 858-792-5988 for a consultation.