No two individual and family situations are alike. The specific strategy of any individual’s estate planning will therefore depend to a large degree upon the unique needs and circumstances of each family situation and to some degree upon the specific provisions of  law. The individual’s will and any other estate-planning documents (such as a trust) should be reviewed with an eye toward accomplishing not only the individual’s traditional estate planning objectives, but their inter vivos asset management and inter vivos estate and financial planning objectives as well. Appropriate changes should be made to these instruments. Talk to a Sacramento estate planning attorney from the Thomas Hogan Law Office to know your estate planning options.

Trusts

One of the most common methods of managing property during the later years with a view to continuing support of the survivors once the owner (trustor or settlor) has died is to establish a trust. The trustor retains control over the property during his or her lifetime, but on the death of the trustor the trust property is distributed to the designated beneficiaries without being probated. Consideration should be given by the individual to the immediate transfer of assets to family members or to others outright, in trust, or with a retained interest and the assignment of income where permissible, in order to achieve the various individual and family objectives. Consideration should also be given by the individual to the placement of assets into various legal forms designed to transfer the interest to family members or to others only upon the eventual death of the individual in order to achieve the various individual and family objectives.

The estate-planning instruments and the assets of the individual’s spouse, parents, and other family members should be reviewed. Despite expectations, the individual’s spouse and others may predecease the individual. Without appropriate planning, their deaths could result in assets being transferred or re-transferred to the individual notwithstanding the individual’s personal objectives to the contrary. If, however, the spouse or family desires to make such assets available to the individual, then consideration should be given to an alternate form of transfer and ownership such as for example the use of a trust. Moreover, if the individual has been designated as executor or trustee of any such estate- planning instruments, another person should be designated in his stead, if the individual’s deteriorating mental or physical condition will preclude his capacity to serve. The  Sacramento estate planning attorneys of  the Thomas Hogan Law Office can advise you on what factors you need to consider for estate planning and the right estate planning option.

Wills

Although two-thirds of all Americans die without having made a will, drawing up wills is a big business in the modern world. There is actually no standard legal form on which it must be drawn up and no universally required procedure for making a will but there are certain requirements for a will to be legally valid. Certain procedural matters pertaining to the legality of a will are usually resolved fairly easily. If a person names an executor of the estate, that executor serves under the jurisdiction of a local probate court. However, if no executor is named by the testator or if a person dies intestate (no valid will having been found), the court appoints an administrator to handle the distribution of the decedent’s property. Probate courts also become involved in disputations about whether a will is valid or which of several wills take precedence (usually the most recent). If no legal heirs can be found, the estate escheats, or passes to the state in which it is probated. Speak to a Sacramento estate planning attorneys to know which estate planning strategy is best suited for you.

Probate

Probate is the legal process by which your assets pass on to your heirs after your death. The courts play an important role in the probate process. Your estate has to go through probate even if you leave behind a valid will. If you have left behind a valid will, the probate court will verify the authenticity of your will. Before your assets are distributed according to your will, your outstanding debts and taxes will be paid from your estate. The remaining estate will be distributed amongst your heirs according to your will. If you die intestate i.e. without a valid will, your state law will determine how your estate is distributed. There are ways and means of legally avoiding a probate and ensuring that your assets pass on to your heirs without having to go through probate. Contact the Thomas Hogan Law Office to know more.

 


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