Making sure that loved ones are cared for in the event of your death is something that should be a priority, regardless of your age or health. The concept of estate planning, developing a will, or setting up a trust may seem like something that is only necessary for wealthy families, but that is not the case. If your estate is worth millions of dollars or consists of a few assets, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure that your wishes are carried out when you are no longer living. A Buena Park estate planning lawyer can help you navigate this process.
Estate planning is the process of deciding how your assets will be divided and distributed in the event of your death. This process can be lengthy and involve some work, but it is an important one. Settling your estate and dividing your assets takes a great deal of care and attention because there are many important decisions that will need to be made. One of the first decisions to be made is whether you want to write a will, create a trust, or a combination of the two.
One option when going through the process of estate planning is developing a will. This is a legally binding document that lets you determine the specific ways that you want your assets to be distributed when you pass. A will may also provide guidance for deciding who will be the executor of the will, who will be responsible for caring for any children that you leave behind, and whether you wish to provide support for people who are not considered your family.
There are also several restrictions where a will is concerned in Buena Park. For example, you will not be able to include any assets that are held jointly in a will. A will also has to be processed through the probate court, so executing it may incur additional taxes or fees for your loved ones. A will can also be challenged in court by loved ones who believe it to be unfair. Despite these restrictions, a will is a viable option for many individuals when they are planning their estate.
One version of a will that many people choose to establish is a living will, also known as a medical care directive. This document establishes what your wishes are if you become sick or injured and are unable to make decisions for yourself. A living will gives you the opportunity to designate an individual to make any decisions on your behalf and outline what care you would like to receive if you are incapacitated. This is an important part of estate planning if there is any history of major illness in your family or if you want to make sure that your wishes are followed in every scenario.
If a will or a medical care directive is not the best option for your situation, or if you want additional protection, you may want to consider establishing a trust. When a trust is established, there is an individual who is designated as the trustee, which means that they are responsible for the contents of the trust and must distribute it at the proper time. This can be a better option for individuals who are trying to spare their loved ones from extensive taxes and fees when executing final wishes. A trust can bypass the probate court system, which allows for certain tax relief and the avoidance of certain fees. If you choose to establish a trust, there are two primary types: revocable and irrevocable.
Establishing a trust for your loved ones is one way to provide support, either financial or material, for them in the event of your death. Regardless of the type you choose, trusts are a great way to establish a fund or collection of assets for your loved ones in a way that is private and protected.
Estate planning is an important process, but it can be overwhelming. You will have to determine which assets should be passed on to loved ones, establish who you trust enough to execute your wishes, and decide how you will offer financial or material support to the loved ones in need. No one should have to face the task of planning and solidifying their final wishes on their own. The team of estate planning attorneys at Sakamoto & Ruelas, APC, will work with you to ensure that your estate is secure and that your final wishes are followed. Contact us today to get started.