WILLS AND TRUSTS
WHO SHOULD HAVE AN ESTATE PLAN?
Any person who is 18 years or older that has the mental capacity;
Owners of real property or personal property (houses, condos, money, cars, collector's items, bank accounts, stock, IRA, a business, etc.);
Anyone who wants someone to make decisions regarding your health and/or manage your assets on your behalf should you be unable to on your own behalf due to sickness, coma, or accident.
WHAT IF YOU PASS AWAY WITHOUT AN ESTATE PLAN?
If you pass away before you were able to get your estate plan in place (i.e. without a will or trust), you will have died "intestate." As a result, your loved ones will have to go through a legal process called probate where the court will determine your heirs based on the applicable California law and distribute your assets accordingly.
PROTECT YOUR LEGACY
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Wills are documents that can be used to name the executor of your estate, beneficiaries, and guardians for any minor children.
Will-based estate plans are only effective if your entire estate is worth less than approximately $160,000 (including real estate and personal property). If your estate is over $160,000, your loved ones are required by law to probate your estate. This can lead to headaches and money spent on court costs.
POUR OVER WILLS
A Pour-Over Will takes any property left outside of a trust and pours it back into the trust. It acts as a safety-net just in case it is needed during the administration of the trust estate.
"NOMINATION OF GUARDIANS" FOR MINOR CHILDREN
If you have minor children, plan ahead for their future by nominating the individual(s) you would want to care for them should the worse happen.
CAN A WILL BE CHANGED LATER?
Wills, like revocable trusts, can be changed as many times as you please. A change made to a will after it has been created is called a "codicil." However, there are strict rules that must be followed for a codicil to be legally valid so it is best to contact an attorney for assistance in order to preserve your legacy.
These trusts are like how they sound - permanent and unchangeable. If you want the freedom to be able to make changes down the line, then this type of trust is not for you.
Like the names suggests, these trusts are able to be revoked or changed at any time for as many times as you would like throughout your lifetime. You have this freedom for as long as you have breath in your lungs and mental capacity.
These are also known as Living and Family Trusts.
Trust Terms to Know:
Settlor or trustor is the person who creates the trust and funds it by transferring assets into it.
Issue is the all-inclusive word to describe children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.
The trustee or successor trustee manages the trust.
A beneficiary is a person who will receive the trust assets upon the death of the settlor.
Probate is the court process that will be avoided so long as the trust was properly funded.
SELECTING A SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE OR EXECUTOR
After you have passed away, the successor trustee of the trust or the executor of the will is the person who will administer your estate on your behalf. The person(s) you choose should be trustworthy, responsible, communicative, good at following instructions, and there is no existing animosity or conflicts between them and your beneficiaries.
The Law Office of Brianna J. Giliberto-Hermann is available to assist clients in establishing Trusts and Wills.
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