Glendale Estate Planning Attorneys
Estate planning involves the creation of wills, trusts and powers of attorney to determine how your estate will be distributed to heirs and beneficiaries after you are gone, while also providing for the protection of your assets and the proper management of your health care and financial affairs in the event of physical or mental incapacity. Thoughtful estate planning will ensure that both you and your loved ones are protected according to your wishes.
Estate planning is a complicated area of the law. Even for a small estate with relatively few decisions to make, having the assistance of a qualified estate planning attorney will help ensure that all the necessary documents are drafted clearly and correctly, giving you the peace of mind that they will be given their full effect when needed.
The will is the central document in most traditional estate plans. With a will, you can make an overall distribution of your property to your heirs, or make specific gifts to specific people. The will can also be used to appoint an executor for your estate and appoint a guardian for any minor children who may be in need of care. Finally, even if you are disposing all of your property through trusts and other instruments, your will can contain a “pour-over” provision to make sure that any property that might have been overlooked gets placed into the appropriate trust and distributed according to your wishes.
A will must meet certain requirements to be valid. Any changes to a will, including revoking a will and creating a new one, must also be done in a particular way in order to avoid confusion and be accepted by the probate court. Having a qualified attorney draft your will can help ensure that the will is valid and enforceable.
A revocable living trust is a popular estate planning tool that enables you to pass assets to your beneficiaries without the property having to go through probate. A trust also enables you to retain control and management of the property, and benefit from its use, during your lifetime. There are many different types of trusts which can be created for tax planning and other purposes. Depending upon your needs and the size of your estate, you may benefit from the creation of any number of trusts, including:
- Grantor Retained Income Trusts
- Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts
- Generation Skipping Transfer Trusts
- Special Needs Trusts
- Qualified Personal Residence Trust
Powers of Attorney
Other important documents to prepare include a living will, advance healthcare directives, and financial powers of attorney. With these documents, you decide important end-of-life decisions in advance, such as organ and tissue donation, and in what circumstances you would want life-saving measures and life support and when you may not. While these decisions may be difficult to face, leaving them undecided means that the decisions are thrust on your loved ones at a time when they may not be emotionally equipped to deal with them, causing much anguish. Also, arguments can arise among family members over what should be done, and your wishes may not be known or carried out. Powers of attorney are also important in the event you are temporarily incapacitated. With a power of attorney, you can designate another person to make legal decisions for you regarding not only your healthcare but your financial affairs as well.
A skilled and knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that addresses all of your needs and desires, giving you peace of mind that you and your loved ones will be looked after according to your wishes.