When someone passes away, we don’t want to see your family and loved ones mired in lengthy legal battles over your estate. It is critical to plan your estate and wishes so the courts do not make the decision for you. Wills and trusts are the most common and important tools available for this area of estate planning. The San Luis Obispo wills and trust attorney at the Law Offices of Andrew Cohen have more than a decade of experience preparing wills and trust-focused estate plans and can help guide you on the best options for your circumstances.
Regardless of the value of your finances or the number of assets you own, you should have an estate plan in place that will provide a plan for your family and your assets. A will may be enough for some people, but not for most. A will must be lodged with the probate court and subject to probate administration proceeding. A last will and testament will outline various issues that are asset-related as well as unrelated to your assets. It can list who gets inheritance rights, name guardians for minor children, forgive debts, and more. However, it is subject to the probate court and is typically not sufficient for most California residents.
A trust is usually a significantly more viable and valuable option to pass down your assets while skipping the probate process. Without any estate planning, California courts can determine what happens to your assets and ultimately your family. There are different kinds of trust available to help distribute your assets appropriately. With a living trust, you can use and access your assets while you are still alive.
Living trusts are revocable and allow you to make changes throughout your life as circumstances evolve over time. Typically, this kind of trust will not be subject to the probate process.
There are also irrevocable living trusts in San Luis Obispo which may remove certain assets from your estate during your lifetime and held in trust for another. There are a variety of reasons an irrevocable trust might be useful, but this type of trust is not right for everyone.
A spendthrift trust can be established when someone is unable or unwilling to handle assets in a responsible manner. This can be established so that another person handles assets on behalf of the trust’s beneficiary. Examples may be for people with a medical condition, mental health or developmental disabilities, substance abuse or simply lack maturity or inexperience.
When a person is disabled and unable to work due to their disability, they may need to establish a special needs trust. This will allow them to retain SSI and Medicaid benefits while having a person in place to manage their assets.
Regardless of your individual circumstances, our San Luis Obispo wills and trust attorney can guide you on the best estate planning option for you and your loved ones. Do not trust just anyone with these crucial decisions. Contact the experienced San Luis Obispo wills and trust attorney at the Law Offices of Andrew Cohen by calling 661-481-0100 or by clicking here.