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Wills, Trusts and Estate Law

No Will, Trust or Estate Plan In Place Is Costly To You and Your Loved Ones.

No will or estate plan in place leaves all your assets subject to probate court, judges and potentially higher tax’s and costs. Your assets may be distributed in a manner against your wishes all because there is no will or estate plan in place. Plus, in the event that you have a injury or medical emergency who will make decisions for you, pay your bills or handle legal and financial matters for you?

Do I need a will?

  1. What is a will?
  2. Does a will cover everything I own?
  3. What happens if I don’t have a will?
  4. Are there various kinds of wills?
  5. What if my assets pass to a trust after my death?
  6. Can I change or revoke my will?
  7. How are the provisions of a will carried out?
  8. Who should know about my will?
  9. Will my beneficiaries have to pay estate taxes?
  10. What other planning should I do?
  11. How can I find a lawyer to write a will for me?

Your will is a legal document in which you give certain instructions to be carried out after your death. You may name beneficiaries (family members, friends, spouse, domestic partner or charitable organizations, for example) to receive your assets according to the instructions in your will. You may nominate a person to be responsible for your child’s personal care if you die before your child turns 18. You may nominate a person or institution (an executor) to collect and manage your assets.

Keep in mind that a will is just part of the estate planning process.

Why a estate plan vs. simple will

Whether your estate is large or small, you probably need an estate plan. Why, simple will’s (depending on the state which you live) could fall short of expectations and leave state law or a judge to rule on aspects of your estate. How?

  1. Some kinds of property may not pass through a simple will (subject to state laws)
  2. Your health and desired treatment should you become unable to care for yourself or control your own medical choices.
  3. Financial matters: should you become unable to make financial decisions whom do you want to handle your finances and make decisions?
  4. Unmarried (no legal civil union or domestic partnership)  Life partners not protected under legal means (Estate Plan or Trust) often have no standing when it comes to partners medical decisions, estate, property and child custody when a minor is involved.

Estate planning is a process.

It involves your family, other individuals and, in many cases, charitable organizations of your choice. It also involves your assets (your property) and the various forms of ownership and title that those assets may take. And it addresses your future needs in case you ever become unable to care for yourself.

Through estate planning, you can determine:

  1. How and by whom your assets will be managed for your benefit during your life if you ever become unable to manage them yourself.
  2. Distribution of your assets during your lifetime.
  3. How and to whom your assets will be distributed after your death.
  4. How and by whom your personal care will be managed and how health care decisions will be made during your lifetime if you become unable to care for yourself.

Do I need a living trust?

  1. How could a living trust be helpful if I become incapacitated?
  2. How could a living trust be helpful at my death?
  3. Who should be the trustee of my living trust?
  4. How are my assets put into the living trust?
  5. If I have a living trust, do I still need a will?
  6. Will a living trust help reduce estate taxes?

Living Trust is a written legal document that partially substitutes for a will. With a living trust, your assets (your home, bank accounts and stocks, for example) are put into the trust, administered for your benefit during your lifetime, and then transferred to your beneficiaries when you die. Most people name themselves as the trustee in charge of managing their trust’s assets. This way, even though your assets have been put into the trust, you can remain in control of your assets during your lifetime. You can also name a successor trustee (a person or an institution) who will manage the trust’s assets if you ever become unable or unwilling to do so yourself.

Do I need a will?

  1. What is a will?
  2. Does a will cover everything I own?
  3. What happens if I don’t have a will?
  4. Are there various kinds of wills?
  5. What if my assets pass to a trust after my death?
  6. Can I change or revoke my will?
  7. How are the provisions of a will carried out?
  8. Who should know about my will?
  9. Will my beneficiaries have to pay estate taxes?
  10. What other planning should I do?
  11. How can I find a lawyer to write a will for me?

Areas of Practice In Estate Planning

Wills
Living Wills
Trusts
Power of Attorney
Medical Directives
Probate Court

Estate Planning Basics

Estate Planning

Is a strategic plan that helps you to carry out your wishes with regard to care taking of your person should you become incapacitated or upon your death. This could include management and distribution of your assets, medical care and more. It will help you be aware of the financial responsibilities and consequences of those choices.

Probate

Probate court appoints someone to take control of the deceased person’s assets, ensure that all debts are properly paid, and distribute the remaining property to the proper beneficiaries.

For those with or without wills will have to navigate probate court which can be a time consuming and often stressful ordeal. Since a will is not a separate legal entity like a living will is, it will still have to be administered through probate court and will bare similar court costs, expenses and probate tax. Avoiding probate court or to minimize assets subject to probate many restructure which assets are held in a living trust.

Living Trusts

A living trust is considered a legal entity. To “fund” a trust you transfer or place assets into the trust.  The trust is then owner of the assets with you, your spouse and/or partner being designated “Trustee(s)” of the trust.  You are still beneficial owner of the assets. You are just no longer considered “legal owner of record”  If you pass  or are incapacitated   a “successor trustee” follows your directives on what to do much the same as an executor would, except there is no probate court involved. Another advantage is the trust details are completely private and not subject to public record,  less expensive to administer, is more difficult to contest.

Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning Why do you need to have a Estate Plan.. Betti and Associates Law Firm

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