Estate Planning / Living Trust Plans / Probate Law / Tax Planning

Elaine AndrewsEstate planning is a way for you to make decisions about yourself and your assets instead of leaving those decisions to someone else or the court to decide. A proper estate plan ensures that you make the important decisions as to how your assets will be distributed. It includes a plan to minimize or eliminate estate taxes, court interference, attorneys fees, costs and extra-ordinary expenses of probate.

Estate planning is not only applicable to wealthy individuals. If you do not properly plan your estate, you will be allowing future decisions to be made on your behalf by a court nominated individual should you become incapacitated or disabled. This would include health care decisions and decisions concerning the management of your assets. Moreover, without an estate and tax plan, California law will determine how and to whom your property and assets will be distributed.

Last Will & Testament

A Last Will & Testament allows you to name the individuals, trusts or charitable organizations to receive your assets when you pass away, an executor to administer your estate, a guardian for your minor children, and (in the case of a living will) to issue instructions concerning extended medical treatment. A Last Will & Testament is normally probated by the local Probate Court and it becomes a public documents. A Living Trust, on the other hand, allows you to avoid the Probate Court's control (in most cases) and the fees associated with Probate. It also allows you to privately direct how you want your assets to be distributed when you die. This allows you to maintain control over how your estate is handled during life and after your death.

"Trusts aren't just for the wealthy… no matter your net worth, it's important to have a basic estate plan in place that tells the world exactly where you want your assets distributed when you die." – CNN Reports

Business Law

A complete Estate Plan may also require a business plan for the succession of a business when a corporate owner dies. This may require the need for a buy-sell agreement, the formation of a corporations, a Limited Liability Company or a Partnership Agreements A contract intends to formalize an agreement between two or more parties, in relation to a particular subject. Contracts can cover an extremely broad range of matters, including the sale of goods or real property, the terms of employment, the settlement of a dispute, and the ownership of intellectual property. It is a good idea that your business agreements are formalized with a contract.