What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is allocating your properties to your beneficiaries in case you get incapacitated or pass away. Aside from the designation of assets, you can also prepare the settlement of your estate taxes through this process. While you can do this planning independently, working with an estate planning lawyer who focuses on estate law would be better. More about our services.
Estate planning also includes the preparation of a will testament. A will testament is a document that presents how the properties and assets of the deceased should be divided and managed.
Without an estate plan, the decision to split your assets among your family members will be left at the court’s discretion. This process can cause several problems, such as unwanted stress, family arguments, and difficulties in finances. Plus, probate proceedings can cost a lot, so the burden of wasting estate money will be shouldered by you.
With the help of reliable lawyers, estate planning may also reduce the amount of estate taxes to pay. Most common strategies to do this include making charitable donations and distributing trust funds. But what documents should you prepare for this legal process?
What Are The Legal Documents You Need For Estate Planning?
Typically, estate planning requires you to prepare at least four legal documents. These are a will, a power of attorney for finances, a medical directive, and a living trust.
Here are some essential details that you need to know regarding these documents to better plan your estate.
A will is a document detailing the properties each of your beneficiaries will receive. You can choose among your family, relatives, children, or even friends what they will get after your passing. If you have yet to prepare a will, the California intestacy laws will overrule the distribution of your assets and properties.
You also need to name an executor when drafting a will. An executor will manage all assets placed under your legal document. If you have children below 18, you can also delegate a rightful guardian to raise them until they reach the legal age.
Remember that there are certain assets you cannot include in the will for distribution. These assets include any life insurance proceeds, property indicated in a living trust, and properties under a joint title.
Power Of Attorney For Finances
A power of attorney is a formal document that permits a person you selected to make financial decisions when you cannot make them. In this case, the persons involved in your POA must comply with the California Power of Attorney rules.
You can choose to enforce the Power Of Attorney either when you become incapacitated or effective immediately if you want them to take over. However, keep in mind that there are certain limitations to the Power of Attorney.
The person chosen cannot make any medical decisions on your end. The role shall only take effect while you’re still living and gets dismissed after your passing.
A medical directive is a document that presents what you wish for in terms of medical care in case you become unable to make the decisions. This document includes anything you want or does not want, from ventilation to feeding apparatus.
In California, the Advance Health Care Directive is the law that regulates medical directives. The law allows you to select a person to make medical decisions when you are incapacitated to make them. Keep in mind that other states have different rules for this directive.
A living trust allows you to choose someone to manage your assets and properties during your lifetime and facilitate the distribution after your passing. Keep in mind that you can still enjoy using these assets.
Having a living trust can help you save time and effort. This document is considered private and does not need to undergo any probate proceedings. The proceedings of such a case can take too much time, and having a living trust allows you to divide the assets immediately if that’s what you want.
What are the types of estate planning trusts? Two of the most frequently utilized are revocable and irrevocable trusts.
A revocable trust is a trust that can be revised or terminated by the settlor. It allows them to avoid legal procedures to change the trust’s terms and conditions.
On the other hand, an irrevocable trust cannot be revised, canceled, or terminated once the trustee receives the assets.
Aside from these, you can also classify a trust as asset protection and a charitable trust.
Who Are The Parties Involved In Estate Planning?
In estate planning, there are three parties involved. These include the settlor, the trustee, and the beneficiaries. Here is a detailed explanation of each party involved in estate planning.
Settlor Or Grantor
The settlor or grantor is the one who owns the assets in planning the estate. They build a living trust where the assets will be managed and distributed later to the beneficiaries.
A trustee is appointed by the settlor to manage the assets for distribution. Their service is remunerated through the trust fund. In handling the trust, the trustee can make investment decisions and generate revenue from managed properties.
The beneficiaries are the rightful heirs of the assets owned by the settlor. Beneficiaries can either be a single person or a group of individuals. The law allows them to take over if they believe the trustee is not qualified enough to manage the assets.
How Much Does Estate Planning Cost?
The costs for estate planning vary depending on how you process the planning. Different law offices charge varying amounts of fees for estate planning. They may charge you an hourly, flat, or contingency fee. Knowing who does the work, what kind of plan you wish to have, and what legal fees are necessary to budget your funds before hiring a law office.
But you may ask, is it worth paying for estate planning? One common misconception about estate planning is that it’s only for the rich. Is it, though? If you look at the core of this process, it addresses the average concerns of any family.
For example, you likely think of who will look after your children when you’re gone. The thought of paying your hospital bills when incapacitated may have made you anxious. You may have also wondered what will happen to the assets you worked so hard to achieve when you’re gone. And what will be the legacy you’ll leave?
It’s not about how much you’ve earned during your lifetime or how grand your financial situation is. Estate planning is about preparing for unexpected things that can happen to anyone, to you. Who will care for the things dear to you? Estate planning can help you with that.
But should you do it alone? You could, but working with a trusted estate planning attorney will make this process stress-free. Since these lawyers have experienced a lot of family situations regarding estate planning, they can better guide you through the process, whatever your family dynamics may be. They will create a plan that fits you and your loved ones perfectly.
How Can Weiner Law Help You In Estate Planning?
Weiner Law offers services that can help you minimize the time and effort you usually consume in estate planning. Their comprehensive approach and willingness to care for you and your family guarantee they will be there every step.
Weiner Law carefully knows you and your family first before conducting estate planning. They will ensure they are familiar with your family dynamics before designing a plan that suits you best. Ultimately, they want to protect your family and the legacy you want to build.
In this case, Weiner Law presents here their 3-step legacy process of how the implementation of estate planning will best work for you.
Step 1: Deep-dive Planning
Weiner Law helps you understand the importance of estate planning. It will look at the scenarios that might happen to your family when you cannot commit to an estate plan before your passing.
The deep-dive planning also involves assessing your current estate plan. Weiner Law will review everything under your existing plan. If you feel that something needs to be improved, Weiner Law will formulate an estate plan that suits your objectives and wishes to ensure your peace of mind.
Step 2: Signing Meeting
After four weeks after the deep-dive planning session, Weiner Law will make sure to meet with you to sign all necessary documents about estate planning. Don’t worry because this is not yet the end of the service. The office will give you pertinent instructions regarding your assets and properties list.
Step 3: Check-in Meeting
At this stage, Weiner Law verifies everything under your plan. They will ask if you still have questions or corrections regarding the procedure. If there are any more assets that you need to transfer, Weiner Law will still process them for you.
If you feel like Weiner Law is the best option to help you in your estate planning journey, you can contact them to book an evaluation.