The last will and testament is technically speaking the only one truly testamentary device. In simple terms, a will contains the person’s intention on how his assets will be distributed after his death. A will need not be restricted only to the distribution of assets but can also include other intentions of the deceased person including the appointment of executor and guardians for minor children. No matter how long or short the will is, the executor has the obligation of carrying out the intentions of the deceased person under court supervision. The courts do not play any role in the creation of a will. However the person must have the mental capacity to make a will at the time he or she makes the will. Our Fresno estate planning attorneys can assist you with the preparation of your will.
Most individuals correctly perceive that a will must be in writing and properly witnessed in order to be effective. Nevertheless, to ensure the will’s validity, the best practice is to execute a written will in the presence of the requisite number of attesting witnesses, all in accordance with statutory requirements. Such a procedure should be accomplished under the supervision of an attorney skilled in the preparation and execution of such instruments in order to ensure statutory compliance. Once duly executed, the will remains completely revocable and amendable by the testator until death. It is only the testator’s death and the subsequent “admission” of the will to probate that gives the will legal effect.
Although a close family member is often selected for the office of executor, there are few restrictions in this regard. Usually, anyone of full age and capacity who is capable of administering estate assets may be appointed as the executor, regardless of his or her relationship to the testator. As with the various management forms considered in the section on asset management, this may be a professional adviser, a close friend, or a corporate entity such as a bank or a trust company. When the assets are extensive or complex and the objectives of the will are sophisticated, a professional or corporate entity could, indeed, be a desirable choice, serving alone or together with a family member. The Fresno estate planning attorneys of the Thomas Hogan Law Office can assist you prepare a valid will.
A trust created during the lifetime of the individual (inter vivos) is an agreement in which the individual formally transfers assets or property to a trustee, who agrees to hold and manage the property on behalf of the individual (and sometimes for members of the individual’s family as well, that is, the beneficiaries) for some particular period of time would most probably extend for the rest of the individual’s life.
Simply defined, a trust is a fiduciary relationship in which the trustee holds the legal title to the property subject to an obligation to use the property so transferred for the benefit of the beneficiary. As in agency agreements, the creation of an inter vivos trust relationship requires no court authority. It does, however, require a particular degree of mental capacity. Although a close family member is often selected for the office, there are few restrictions in this regard. Usually, anyone of full age and capacity who is capable of managing the transferred assets may be appointed as trustee regardless of relationship to the individual. The trustee may be a professional adviser, a close friend, or a corporate entity such as a bank or a trust company. When assets are extensive or complex and objectives are sophisticated, a professional or corporate entity could, indeed, be a desirable choice, serving alone or together with a family member. Our Fresno estate planning attorneys have assisted many individuals create trusts for estate planning.
You can exclude a property from your estate by registering the property in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. Your relative or relatives to whom you want to transfer the property after your death should be made joint tenants. Up on your death the property will the property of these relatives without having to go through probate. Joint tenancy and tenancy by the entirety are like each other and unlike a tenancy in common because the cotenants have a right of survivorship. When one owner dies, the property automatically passes to the surviving tenant. When a tenant in common dies, by contrast, his or her interest in the property goes to his or her heirs, not to the surviving cotenant. Finally, joint tenants and tenants by the entirety always have equal shares in the property; the interests of tenants in common can be split up in different ways (with one owning one-third and the other owning two-thirds, for example). Contact the Thomas Hogan Law Office to know more about the various legal methods of avoiding probate.
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I was in a difficult situation and needed a reputable and trustworthy lawyer to represent me in court against a government agency. I am glad I made an appointment to meet Tom Hogan in his office. The entire office staff is very courteous and professional. Tom Hogan is very likeable, he has a good sense of humor, and my anxiety went away after talking to him for a few minutes. He listened intently on what I had to say and gathered information by asking me several questions pertaining to my case. He has great attention to details. I was able to understand better my predicament after he explained the situation I am in so I decided on day 1 that he is the lawyer I am looking for. He showed up on all my court dates and stood for me against seemingly insurmountable odds. For those who are summoned to appear in court by the government, I guess you can relate… you are in between a hard place and a rock. His arguments turned around the case in my favor. The last court appearance went like a blur and I was still in disbelief as we are walking out of the court house. I asked him, what is going on? He responded ” We won. They are not going to bother you anymore.”Joe Stockton
Mr. Hogan took a personal interest in helping me with my legal issue. It was refreshing to find a lawyer that did not treat you like a number. He asked all the necessary questions so that he could properly represent me. He obviously has a lot of experience and it showed in how he handled my case. I would definitely recommend Mr. Hogan to any of my friends for legal assistance.Al M. Modesto
When I decided to get married he established my pre-nup. Since I had no idea how or what to put into it he was able to advise me on thing I would have never thought about. then 8 years later I needed a legal separation. Since the pre-nup was very detailed it made the legal separation quick and easy. Tom is very knowledgeable and is very understanding. I appreciate that he is tough when he needs to be but at the same time sensitive to the situation. He won’t just tell you what you want to hear but is honest and tell you how the law looks at things. I recommend Tom to anyone that needs a lawyer!Jeri E. Modesto
Mr. Hogan and his staff were a pleasure to work with. I consulted with them regarding a potential IRS tax issue. They answered all my questions gave me invaluable advise. I am sleeping much better at night since my stress has been diminished. Thank you Mr. Hogan.Evelyn M. Modesto
If you need an attorney with a keen understanding of financial matters, look no further than Tom Hogan. Mr. Hogan deserves the gold star for his accomplishments as an attorney and CPA. I never expected to ever find an attorney as competent, caring and driven as Mr. Hogan. As soon as Tom took on my case, he was determined to help me. He immediately plowed through the reams of documents pertaining to my case, financial and legal, and honed in on the critical pieces.Roberta C. Modesto
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