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Chula Vista Estate Planning And Probate Law Blog

Reasons for creating a trust

Many people think of estate planning as something only needed for wealthy families. However, future security and end-of-life planning is something that is needed by all California families. A common misconception is that a will is the only document needed to relay end-of-life wishes. While wills are a great way to ensure that assets are distributed as desired, trusts are just as useful in life as in death. There are several reasons why families may want to consider a trust.

The two basic types of living trusts are revocable and irrevocable trusts. A revocable trust can be changed at any time and is the most popular type of trust. An irrevocable trust cannot be changed once signed, so it's important to understand the terms before signing an irrevocable trust. Regardless of the type, any living trust allows families to control assets and keep assets in the family.

Common misconceptions about wills and estate planning

Although relatively low on the list of priorities for most California families, estate planning is an important step in providing guidance and securing the future for loved ones. Knowing assets are taken care of can provide much-needed peace of mind. There are many misconceptions and stereotypes about wills, trusts and estate planning. Learning these common misconceptions can help families create the best plan for their future.

A common misconception about wills is that they are documents that oversee the distribution of all assets. However, a will has certain limitations. While wills allow a person to lay out how belongings are to be distributed, the only possessions that wills have control over are possessions that are in the person's name. Another common misconception about wills is that, once a person's will is drawn up, he or she is finished with planning. However, in addition to a will, it is important to have beneficiaries listed on all accounts and, in the event of certain medical circumstances such as incapacitation, what medical treatment is desired.

Reasons to consider a revocable trust

Regardless of income level, everyone should have an estate plan. Having a strategy in place will make the transition of assets smoother and less stressful for loved ones. A beneficial way to secure an estate in California is with a trust. A trust is basically a document that determines how assets are handled in the event of death. Arguably the most popular type of trust is a revocable trust.

Also known as a revocable living trust, what sets this type of trust apart is that it can be amended as provisions can be cancelled or changed at any time. The flexibility of a revocable trusts makes them great options for young people. If a trustmaker has minor children, revocable trusts can also account for guardianship, and things such as living situations and finances can be stipulated.

If someone challenges your estate, it will go through probate

One of the many reasons that people create comprehensive estate plans is to minimize the risk of their estate winding up in probate court. Probate court can prevent your heirs from accessing the assets you leave behind for many months. It can also be an expensive process that diminishes how much your family receives. It can cause conflict among your loved ones and family members to boot.

Creating an estate plan that includes a thorough last will is one way to reduce the risk of your estate winding up in probate. However, even if you have a valid last will and a thorough plan, probate could still be an issue for your estate administrator.

A trust is a great way to avoid probate

Securing assets and a ensuring a better future for loved ones are main incentives for estate planning in California. One of the most efficient ways to control assets is through a trust. Arguably the main advantage of a trust is the ability to avoid probate. Probate is basically the settling of an estate, and if assets are not secured upon death, they will most likely have to pass through the probate process.

This is a lengthy and expensive process that can take months and, in some cases, years to complete. The laws surrounding probate vary from state to state but, on average, the process of probate usually takes anywhere from six to nine months. Also, everything that passes through probate is made a part of the public record, so anyone can look up the details of assets.

Helpful tips for creating wills and trusts

It is a known fact of life that planning for death is important and can save loved ones from difficult situations down the road. However, so many families in California will put off estate planning until its too late. Creating wills and trusts can ensure that assets are protected and remain in the family. The following tips can help when planning an estate.

One of the first things to do is to make a list of all assets, property and other valuables and indicate who will get these assets. This will ensure that all possessions are passed down correctly. It is also helpful to consider creating a living will. A living will is a document that informs doctors of wishes and desires in the event that a person becomes incapacitated and cannot make medical decisions on their own.

Wills and estate plans: Mistakes to avoid

Planning for death can be a beneficial part to life. However, no person wants to plan for his or her demise. It can be a depressing and uninspiring thing to talk about, but what is planned during life can prevent hardships and difficulties after death. Wills and trusts are common ways to secure assets in California, but a comprehensive plan is about much more than a few documents.

A successful estate plan should contain lists of all assets and how to access those assets. It is important that beneficiaries be left with instructions on how to access things like mutual funds, brokerage and bank accounts. These days, many accounts are accessed digitally. To ensure that family members and other beneficiaries can access these accounts, usernames and passwords should be documented.

Wills, trusts and estate planning tips for women after divorce

Divorce is a life-altering experience that can bring about many difficulties both psychologically and financially. According to statistics, separation is inevitable for some couples in California, and many marriages end in divorce. Women, in particular, can face unique challenges after a divorce. For women, the end of a marriage is arguably the most important time to re-evaluate future plans and update or create important documents such as wills and trusts.

After a divorce, assets often change. Many times after a split, a woman are entitled to a portion of her spouse's retirement accounts or savings plans. Updating existing estate planning documents to reflect changes in assets is imperative to ensuring that any new assets are kept safe and go to the proper beneficiaries.

Here's what happens if you have to go to through probate

If a loved one has passed away, then you might be someone who has to deal with the probate process. If you haven't heard of it before, then it might sound daunting. However, good guidance can get you through it without feeling like you've been through a war zone.

There are a few different things that happen during the probate process. Here's a breakdown of what to expect.

The importance of having an advance medical directive

Planning for the future is always a good idea regardless of age or economic status. In a world of uncertainty, securing assets and final wishes only makes sense. Estate planning is often considered by California residents to be something to put off until retirement years. However, it is never to early to begin planning for the inevitable. An advance medical directive is a document that can detail the wishes of a loved one upon an end-of-life situation.

Its never fun or easy talking about the end of life, but preparing for death will ensure proper treatment when the time comes. By creating a living will, a person can detail what type of care is desired at the end of his or her life while saving loved ones from making stressful medical decisions should the individual become incapacitated. A health care power of attorney would also be needed to name and authorize a person to carry out medical decisions in the event of an incapacitation.

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The Law Office of Araceli Tovar, APC

251 Madrona St.
Chula Vista, CA 91910

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