Anaheim Estate Planning Lawyer

Anaheim Estate Planning Lawyer
Anaheim Estate Planning Lawyer

Anaheim Estate Planning Attorneys

Planning for what will occur after your death may seem unpleasant, but it is crucial to ensure your loved ones are not left with any confusion when you’re no longer here. Ultimately, you want to be the one to decide where your money and property go after your death, not the state. Estate planning is the only way to ensure for certain that you will be the one who determines who your beneficiaries are and what they get. By working with a trusted Anaheim estate planning lawyer, you can create an estate plan that makes things simple for your loved ones when you pass so they can grieve without worrying about financial issues.

At Sakamoto & Ruelas, APC, our lawyers have more than 20 years of combined experience in estate planning law in Anaheim, CA and the surrounding communities. We understand how important estate planning is for you and your family, and we know how detrimental it can be when an estate plan is inadequate after a loved one passes away. Our attorneys can help you create a will and a living trust that provides security for you and your family. We can help you avoid the tedious probate process and ensure there are no family disputes over your estate once you have passed.

What Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning involves deciding what will happen to your assets and responsibilities once you’ve passed away and who will be in charge of you and your financial, medical, and legal decisions if you are incapacitated. If you pass away without doing estate planning beforehand, the state will determine how your estate will be distributed. This is why it is vital to work with an experienced attorney who can ensure your wishes will be fulfilled after your death.

If you do not have an estate plan at all, after you pass away, the Probate court will decide how your estate is distributed. In this case, the judge would decide how your assets are distributed according to California’s Intestacy laws. These laws establish your spouse as the first person your assets would go to, and then your children. In the case that you do not have children, your estate would be distributed to other family members in the order of parents, siblings, and then nieces and nephews. You shouldn’t have to be left wondering how a judge you don’t know will allocate your assets; with an estate plan, you can ensure that you will be the only person who can determine what happens to your estate.

Facets of Estate Planning

There are many different documents included in the estate planning process, and it is important to understand what each one is.

  • Wills: In a will, you can state whom you want your assets to go to after your death. You should also state how you wish any minor children to be taken care of when you are no longer here. It is recommended to have an attorney oversee the process to ensure that your will is legal and sound. However, if you leave only a will, the probate process must still occur. In this case, the executor you have named in your will should file your assets, appraise them, and keep them safe. They will ensure all taxes have been paid, close your estate, and oversee the distribution of your assets as you outlined in your will. Unfortunately, this process can last from six months to a year. It is complicated and can be costly, causing unwanted stress for any loved ones you may leave behind. If you want to avoid probate, you must establish a trust.
  • Living Trusts: Living trusts are just as they sound—they are trusts created while you are still alive. They can be divided into two categories: revocable and irrevocable. Revocable trusts can be changed; you can name yourself as the trustee and have control of the trust while you are alive. It’s important to name a successor trustee as well. This individual will take charge of the trust after you pass and distribute the assets in the trust. You could also make the living trust shared, which spouses often do. In this case, the trust will pass to the surviving spouse after one dies and to the successor trustee after both pass away. It is important to create a living trust with the help of an attorney to ensure everything is in order. If you establish a living trust, your estate won’t have to go through probate—your beneficiaries can receive the property as you outlined in the trust after you pass away. If you create an irrevocable trust, you must give up control of it after it is signed. However, a living trust cannot replace a will. A will is still recommended to catch any property not included in the trust, as well as to name a guardian for any minor children.
  • Advance Health Care Directive: In this document, you can name someone you want to make your healthcare decisions if you are incapacitated and are no longer able to do so. You can also state if you would like to be resuscitated or kept on life support in certain situations and if you would like your organs to be donated.
  • Financial Power of Attorney: In a financial power of attorney document, you can name whom you want to have control of your finances in case you become incapacitated. Even if you are no longer able to pay your bills, they must be paid. When you name a financial power of attorney, you can be assured that someone you trust will take care of your finances if you cannot.

It is important to store these documents safely, along with other financial records and information, so that they can be found easily after your death. This way, your loved ones will be able to find your estate plan so they can enact it swiftly and without stress.

FAQs About Anaheim, CA Estate Planning Laws

How Much Does It Cost to Create a Living Trust in Anaheim, California?

The legal costs of creating a living trust in California can vary greatly. For example, if you create a more complex trust with a more experienced attorney in a more expensive region of the state, the fees will be more expensive. In California, you can generally expect it to cost somewhere from $2,000 to $5,000 to set up a living trust. However, with a living trust, you can avoid the lengthy process of probate and its fees.

What Are the Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes?

There are several mistakes you can make in the estate planning process—the worst of which is not having an estate plan at all, which can leave your loved ones with a long, stressful, complex probate process after your death. Another detrimental mistake is making an estate plan without the help of a lawyer. While you may think this may save money, it may actually cost more money in the long run since, without a lawyer, your plan could not be legally bound. An attorney can ensure that your assets go exactly where you want them.

What Is the First Step in Estate Planning?

The first step in estate planning is creating an inventory of your property, assets, and debts. There are many things to consider, including your tangible assets, like houses and cars, and your intangible assets, like insurance policies and investments. This way, you’ll know what everything is worth. This may require getting official appraisals done to ensure accuracy. After this step, you can move forward to create a will using the inventory you created.

Why Do People Avoid Estate Planning?

There are a number of reasons why people avoid estate planning. One of the biggest reasons is that it’s uncomfortable. It can seem morbid to think about what will happen after you or your loved one dies. Other people put off the process because it can be expensive or because they think that only wealthy people need estate planning. However, estate planning will likely only save time and money in the long run and is important even for those without many assets. Even if your things aren’t worth much, you want to be the person who determines where they should go when you pass. Everyone should ensure that a plan is in place after their death to save their family a headache, regardless of wealth or status.

Contact an Anaheim Estate Planning Attorney

No matter where you are in life, it’s important to be prepared for the worst. If you become incapacitated or pass away, your loved ones will already be grieving—worrying about your debts, property, and finances can be stressful and can cause disputes among loved ones. However, if you create an estate plan with an experienced attorney before this happens, you can save your loved one’s unnecessary anguish.

The help of a lawyer is crucial when estate planning. Sakamoto & Ruelas, APC, our attorneys, have extensive experience in estate planning law and can ensure your estate plan is secure and legal. To provide your family with ease of mind, contact our offices and learn more about how we can help you.

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Sakamoto & Ruelas, APC

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Phone: (714) 994-4900

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