If you do not make adequate plans for what happens to your property after your death, the property that would have passed through your will passes according to California's laws of intestacy. For many people with families, their spouse inherits all of their community property and either half or one-third of their separate property, while children inherit half or two-thirds of their separate property. However, these rules vary depending on which family members you leave behind. Most people should consult an attorney about preparing wills, trusts, and powers of attorney to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes. Travis G. Black is an experienced Sacramento estate planning lawyer who can help people at all stages of life.Meeting Your Estate Planning Goals
When you do not have many assets, you may effectively transfer property to your loved ones by preparing a will. This is a document that names beneficiaries and provides instructions on how your assets should be distributed among the beneficiaries. When you make a will, you should also direct what should be done with any assets that are not specifically gifted to a beneficiary.
You may nominate someone to be responsible for caring for your child if both the child's other parent and you pass away before the child turns 18 years old. You may also nominate an executor who will collect your assets, pay debts and taxes due at your death, and then distribute the assets according to your will. A will is subject to probate, and your estate may be liable for taxes that could reduce what your beneficiaries will inherit. A will is a matter of public record, which may be problematic for some wealthy individuals.
You may make a provision in your will for your assets to be distributed to a testamentary trust upon your death. The testamentary trust may be a beneficiary of your life insurance and retirement plans.
Most people with assets that are valuable make a living trust. This will protect assets within the trust from being put through probate and keep them from being disclosed publicly. The person who creates the trust often serves as the trustee of the trust until they pass away. Once the trust document is signed, you will need to transfer ownership of your assets to the trust. This allows you to avoid a court-ordered conservatorship in the case of your incapacitation and the probate process upon your death. There are also tax benefits when you create a trust.
When there is a living trust, the will is called a pour over will, and the will specifies that all assets not transferred to the trust during your life should be transferred to the living trust when you die.Retain an Estate Planning Lawyer in the Sacramento Area
Many people fail to plan for their estates in case of disability or death. Sacramento estate planning attorney Travis G. Black and his colleagues take care to prepare accurate wills and trusts that clearly convey their clients’ intentions. Based in Folsom, Travis G. Black & Associates offers perceptive legal counsel to people who need a wills and trusts attorney. Contact us online or call 916-962-2896 for a free appointment.