From the Desk of San Diego Estate Planning Attorney, Kristina Hess
I get questions all the time on wills and trusts. Below is an introduction to wills and trusts. Generally, if you own a home or have assets over $150,000, in California you will need a living trust and a Pour Over Will.
A Primer on Wills and Trusts from Your San Diego, California Wills and Trusts Lawyer
Wills and trusts lawyers in San Diego handle so much more than just the creation of legal documents. One of the most important parts of the job is educating and guiding clients through their options, which often depend on the client’s unique financial and family needs. To that end, today’s article is a basic introduction to wills and trusts.
Estate planning lawyers use all kinds of strategies to help protect their clients’ assets and to find ways to provide for future generations. Sometimes this is about planning for your own retirement, and other times it might include purchasing a life insurance plan, or some other proactive means of preparation. San Diego wills and trusts lawyers are responsible for helping to utilize wills and trusts to allow heirs to benefit from an estate as much as possible.
Trusts are a great tool for protecting an estate because they provide tax benefits, privacy, and the ability to minimize drawn-out and potentially expensive probate proceedings. A wills and trusts lawyer can help you create the trust, which actually becomes its own legal entity that “owns” any assets you transfer to it. There are many trust options available, so it’s best to really go through the options with a wills and trust lawyer in San Diego in order to determine what makes the most sense for you and your family.
A will, on the other hand, can provide different types of protection. This is the place where you will want to name guardians for minor children or those with disabilities and to express your wishes for what should happen to your property after you pass away. Even if you have a will, your estate will still need to go through the probate process, which usually starts by establishing that the will itself is valid.
The best way to move forward will be to work with a wills and trusts lawyer to develop both a will and one or more trusts. In fact, the will itself can even be used to establish a trust upon your death. Yes, that is a lot of choices, but San Diego wills and trusts lawyer will be able to simplify the entire process for you and offer expert advice on strategizing for the future.
As an aside, wills and trusts are not the only important things you will want to discuss with your lawyer. Your estate plan should also include documents such as powers of attorney, medical directives to ensure that your choices for helpers are known should you become incapacitate or disabled. Again, a good San Diego wills and trusts lawyer is a great resource for getting things underway.
Create your legacy today,
Kristina R. Hess