21st Jun 2013
They say you can’t take it with you – “it” referring to your hard-earned assets. When you go to the Great Beyond, you leave everything in this mortal world. That’s the reality. Knowing that, you might as well plan who among your kith and kin can inherit portions of your estate. Yes, while you’re still strong and mentally sharp, you can decide who inherits portions of your estate. But that’s when you’re still alive and mentally sharp. You may plan for the future with a Will or with a Living Trust.
A Will is a written document in which you specify who gets what part of your estate. The key words are “written” and “specify”. If you have a nephew named “Josep Krantzs Silbermannl,” then you better get his name correct. And if you desire that he inherit shares of stocks, you better be specific also. You may have to specify name of company and if the stocks are preferred or common as well as the percentage of his share. If your Will is vague, poor Josep may not receive anything when you pass away.
Although a Will is a legal document, anyone of legal age can execute a Will. However, it is best that you consult an estate planning attorney in California when you are contemplating on having a Will. He will help you avoid the pitfalls such as the ones mentioned above to ensure that your loved ones get the rightful portions of your estate.
Wills are subject to Probate, a legal process by which the courts oversee the transfer of your estate to your heirs. The spirit of Probate is to ensure that your creditors get to collect their receivables first before your estate can be transferred to your heirs. Probate can long, costly and tedious. Hence, many in California plan their estate with an eye to avoid Probate. The most common method for avoiding Probate is the Living Trust.
In a Living Trust, you transfer your assets to a Trust even while you are still alive. You name a Trustee to manage your Trust and oversee the transfer of assets in the event of your death. Assets that are named in a Living Trust do not undergo Probate. As with a Will, you would do well to seek the assistance of an estate planning attorney in California when preparing a Living Trust.
Whether a Will or a Living Trust., you have taken the first step to ensure that the persons you care for will inherit your estate. Without these documents, the State of California will then will have to decide who inherits your estate, this is called intestacy. Don’t worry, the State has a formula for this. But there’s the rule: The formula that California will follow may not be the same as what you have in mind, and you may not want that.
Remember: You can’t t bring it with you when you die. But you may as well plan ahead so that it goes to the people you care for. Contact California Estate Planning Attorney Dwight Tompkins for more information.