Most people do not want to think about what will happen if they become incapacitated or pass away. How will your family deal with your incapacity or death? Who will make decisions on your behalf? How will your assets be protected? All of these questions can be addressed by establishing a comprehensive estate plan. By taking the guesswork out of these issues, you’ll find that you’re more at ease, knowing that your loved ones and your assets will be protected. The attorneys at OC Wills and Trust are skilled and experienced in this area and are here to represent you in the counseling, drafting, and execution of a well thought-out estate plan that will protect your assets and save you and your family money.
The foundation of your estate plan consists of various documents meant to outline your wishes. These documents include:
Revocable Living Trust
Similar to a will, a revocable living trust allows you to transfer your assets to your loved ones, but has a number of other benefits not provided by a will. A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool to which property and assets are transferred so that they pass to designated beneficiaries, by operation of law, upon your death without the need for probate. Probate is the legal process of validating a will and distributing assets. This process is often time consuming and expensive, but, luckily can be avoided by the use of a revocable living trust. A trust is created by a grantor and designates a trustee and co-trustee that are responsible for managing the trust assets. When drafting a revocable living trust for our clients, we appoint the grantor as trustee in order to give them control over their assets until they become incapacitated or die. This type of trust is considered revocable because it can be revised during the life of the grantor to accommodate any changing circumstances. This type of trust can also be used to control the distribution of assets. Distributions can be limited by age, special needs and substance abuse, among other things. Revocable living trusts are very popular among those who are trying to protect their assets now and in the future.
Last Will and Testament
A will is a legal document that instructs how a person’s assets will be distributed after they die. These documents must be validated during the probate process. Although we use a revocable living trust to avoid the need for probate, we always draft a will that covers any assets that are not included in the trust. This type of will is called a pour-over will. The benefit of having this type of will is that it ensures that you have control over how all of your assets are distributed. Using a pour-over will saves your beneficiary time and money that might be spent on litigating who the asset should go to.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a document that allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. These documents can be used to appoint someone to make personal and financial decisions. The use of a durable power of attorney allows those involved to avoid conservatorship, the complicated and expensive process by which the court appoints someone to function in this capacity.
Health Care Directives
Health care directives are documents drafted to instruct others on how to handle an individual’s health care in the event that they become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney can be used to appoint an individual to make health care decisions on the behalf of an incapacitated person. A living will gives specific instructions about your health care decisions to loved ones and providers.
OC Wills and Trust Attorneys can help you formulate a unique estate plan that takes all of your concerns into consideration, protects all of your assets and saves you and your family money. Call us at (949) 288-3498 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation on your estate planning matter today.