Alameda California Wills and Trust Lawyers
Welcome to JS Abrams Law. We are a California wills and trust law firm serving the Alameda area.
Even with the sunny California climate, most Almeda residents can expect to die before they’re 100. If you have a family or if you have assets, then you need to speak with an experienced Alameda wills and trust to protect the people you love and decide what happens to your home, business, accounts, and personal property. Wills and trust can help ensure your family has a strong financial start after you’re gone and that your children are cared for.
Wills and trusts are different types of estate planning documents. Wills determine what happens to your assets and who raises your children when you die. Trusts are used to provide funds for the people and organizations you care about – when you create the trusts. Often, estate planning lawyers recommend both wills and trusts.
At JS Abrams Law, we represent seniors across California. You don’t have to wait until you’re old to think about wills and trusts. You should speak with our experienced Alameda lawyers when you marry, when you have a child, or when you acquire any valuable assets such as a home, a business, or substantial income. Our experienced wills and trust lawyers explain the benefits of wills and trusts and what provisions you should include. We prepare the correct documents for your estate planning needs.
Why do Alameda residents prepare a will?
Wills help you control your assets and help decide who raises your children. If you don’t prepare a will, the state of California will make these decisions for you. People prepare wills to:
- Direct which people get which assets. If you have a home, cars, bank accounts, retirement accounts, treasured personal possessions, or a business – you need a will. People often give their assets to their spouse and children. You can also give your assets to parents, siblings, another relative, or your friends. Many people leave some of their assets for schools, nonprofits, and charities.
- Appoint a guarding for your minor children. If you and your spouse (or the child’s other parent) die before your child turns 18, your child needs someone to raise them – to education them, love them, and make sure they’re happy. Parents often choose other parents to raise their children in the event of a tragedy.
- Select an executor. The executor is the person who collects your assets, pays all the bills and administrative expenses, and then distributes your assets in accordance with the terms of your will. Most people choose a relative or friend who is financially smart, organized, and understands how to resolve disputes. You can also choose a bank to be your executor – though banks charge a high fee. Executors probate your will and represent the estate if there is a will contest.
- Determine what happens to your business. If you own your own business, then a will can designate:
- Whether the executor should sell the business or transfer the ownership interest to designated people.
- How the business should be valued if it is sold
- Who can run or manage the business if the business continues
Wills also help determine who owns a partnership (subject to any partnership agreement) or owns the stock in your corporation
Once you prepare a will, you should discuss whether you need a codicil or a new will with your Alameda wills lawyers on a yearly basis. Some of the reasons to update your wills include the birth of a new child, the creation of a new business, an inheritance from a parent or other relative, a divorce, or other unique events.
What is a trust document?
Our Alameda trust lawyers understand the different types of trusts and when you should create a trust to provide for those you care about. Trust agreements have the following key parts:
- The person who creates the trust
- The transfer of some or the creator’s assets to the trust
- Designated beneficiaries such as children
- The appointment of a trustee who manages the trust and invests trust assets
- A termination date at which time the principal is distributed to the original beneficiary or other named beneficiaries
What types of trusts are used in Alameda?
Alameda wills and trust attorneys explain to seniors, parents, and others how the following types of trusts work and when you should consider using them:
- Trusts for minors. This is a standard type of trust that ensures a child, grandchild, or other minor has the funds they need for their health and education. The trustee manages the trust until the minor reaches 18 or 21 at which time the balance of the trust is distributed to that child (who is now an adult).
- Special needs trusts. These trusts are used to help ensure a child with a disability can receive the maximum amount of government funds available. If you give the funds to the minor directly, the government program might disqualify the minor or the ground he/she has other assets.
- An express trust. This standard trust provides that the trust funds can be used for the reasons set forth in the trust for a specific time period.
- Lifetime trusts. In this type of trust, the trustee manages the funds for the beneficiary during the beneficiary’s lifetime. When the beneficiary dies, the remainder of the trust balance is distributed to a person or entity designated in the trust. Lifetime trusts are often used for elder beneficiaries.
- Pour-over trusts. This type of trust is generally used by spouses to ensure their assets don’t pass through probate. The trusts are created when the wills are executed. The assets of the first spouse to die are transferred to the trust instead of being distributed through probate.
Other trust types are used to:
- Minimize estate taxes for large estates
- Protect assets from the reach of creditors
- Make sure personal injury victims have the money they need for their medical care
At JS Abrams Law, our Alameda wills and trust lawyers review your estate planning goals. We help you decide which legal documents meet your needs – and prepare the correct documents for those needs. To discuss how wills and trusts can give you and your family financial and emotional security, call us at 818-330-4515 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.