Estate Planning Basics
Basic estate planning will ensure that your estate does not go through a time-consuming and costly California probate. Probate is the court process required to identify heirs, transfer property and pay debts. If you die without an estate plan (intestate), the court determines your heirs based on state intestacy laws.
At The Law Office of Matthew C. Yu, we provide quality estate planning services to individuals and families across the South Bay. Our office is conveniently located in Torrance. Our attorneys can put together a comprehensive plan that meets your needs.
What Are The Basics Of An Estate Plan?
The parts of an estate plan will vary based on your individual needs. A living (revocable) trust often forms the foundation. This document can play many roles, including:
- Avoiding probate – Eliminate the need for a court to determine your heirs.
- Minimizing estate and inheritance tax – Ensure that taxes do not take unnecessarily large bite out of gifts you leave to heirs. Married couples can effectively double their gifts with a properly executed living trust.
- Appointing guardians – Name a guardian for minor or special needs child(ren). This provides peace of mind that if you become incapacitated or deceased, you know your children will be cared for by a person of your choosing instead of someone appointed by the court.
- Planning for special needs – Account for special needs of a loved one without impacting their government benefits. This also ensures assets last as long as possible in the hands of a capable fiduciary.
A living trust can protect the people and ensure the people most precious to you are cared for if anything happened to you. Consult a knowledgeable trusts attorney, however to ensure your trust is tailored to your needs and properly created.
The following are some of the other pieces of a comprehensive estate plan:
- Pour-over wills
- Grant deeds
- Durable powers of attorney and advance health care directives
- Trusts possibly including a discretionary trust, A/B trust, QTIP/QDOT trust or domestic partner trust
Our skilled lawyers will explain how each of these work and if they might provide a solution to your estate planning needs.