Creating an estate plan is essential for protecting your assets and allowing your loved ones to carry out your final wishes after your passing. A legally sound estate plan is essential for ensuring that these wishes are properly acted upon, preventing later objections or challenges from outside parties. In Oceanside, Paul V. L. Campo, Attorney At Law, can help evaluate your estate plan and ensure its legitimacy for later use.
Estate planning is the process of creating a detailed disbursement plan for one’s assets upon their death. These plans typically include a living will or trust, a designated power of attorney, and any specific medical directions that should be taken if the person making the will is unable to make those decisions. This estate plan outlines who will receive which assets as well as the person who oversees and follows through with the estate plan, named the executor. These arrangements are often regarded as legally valid by most courts. They are unlikely to be disputed by any contesting parties when properly drafted and handled by professionals like estate planning lawyers.
Estate planning typically covers a variety of different legal topics, particularly those concerned with assets. Anything concerning an estate’s value, including any assets or bank accounts, goes into an estate plan, as does a plan for where these assets go when the estate is divided. When seeking an estate planning attorney, it is best to prepare a comprehensive list of beneficiaries. One should also detail any medical directives or diagnoses that could go into future medical power of attorney classifications.
For example, if someone has a terminal diagnosis that could lead to intense hospitalization, such as aggressive cancer, deciding who will be their medical power of attorney should be solidified before going into an estate planning session. Similarly, those creating an estate plan should decide who will be the agent that executes their estate plan upon their passing. This will ensure that the executor can be properly instructed and notified of their wishes.
Each estate varies, and the specific assets that go into a particular estate plan can range as well. The most common and crucial elements of an estate plan include:
These foundational documents are the foundation for any estate plan and can help create a verifiable, comprehensive estate that can likely avoid probate. If, for any reason, parts of this plan are challenged or contradicted by outside parties, contacting legal help can help clear up any baseless or misappropriated claims that might arise.
The procedure of distributing assets per a will is referred to as “probate.” The will is accepted as valid at this point, and the designated executor of the will starts distributing the assets to the people named in the instrument. Following the instructions provided by the individual who has passed away, anything from heirlooms and personal belongings to real estate might be divided during this process. Depending on the overall worth of the estate, the probate procedure might not be required at all. The executor of a will and individuals named in it do not need to go through the probate procedure in California if the value of an estate is less than $150,000, but bigger estates do.
Anyone can establish a living trust in California to avoid probate for most assets, including bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, and more. A trust agreement (which is akin to a will) must be written, designating a successor for when the owner of the estate passes away (called a successor trustee). Next, and most importantly, they must designate themselves as the trust’s trustee and transfer the title of their property to themselves. After that is completed, the provisions of the trust will govern the property. After a trustee dies, a successor trustee may transfer it to the trust beneficiaries without going through probate court.
Every law office charges a different service rate, usually based on expertise and location. Depending on whether an estate goes into probate, the state controls the amount of money that an estate planning attorney makes, which varies from case to case. Contrary to most states, California law allows probate attorneys to charge a percentage of the total value of the assets subject to probate as their fee. The “probate estate” is the collective name for these assets. California outlines the percentages in its probate code (Cal. Probate Code 10810, 10811):
Although it is not required, most attorneys do so because it provides additional, necessary compensation for their services. For a complete assessment of documentation, the charge is $7,000 if a gross estate is $200,000, for instance. These costs apply to routine work involving shared estates. A lawyer may ask the court to approve a higher fee if they have done exceptional work or if there are issues with an estate that call for further labor.
Planning for the inevitable can be stressful for some. However, ensuring the proper division of assets is crucial for the sake of one’s family and heirs. Finding a legal team able to properly create a cohesive, inclusive estate plan for asset division is an imperative step toward securing a trustee’s wishes for years to come. At Paul V. L. Campo, Attorney At Law, we support clients throughout the estate planning process, taking extra care to ensure that all the necessary aspects of the plan are incorporated into theirs. For more information on our services, visit our website and contact us today.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice
regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.