Top-Rated Orange County Estate Planning Lawyers
Any person with significant financial assets or with a spouse or children should consult with an estate planning lawyer. A skilled Orange County estate planning attorney will review your financial goals and the concerns you have for your family and those people and organizations you care about. Estate planning includes the following:
- Determining who gets your assets when you die
- Determining who raises your children if both parents die before the children become adults
- Deciding what happens if you have a business
With skilled estate planning, you should be able to pay the minimal amount of taxes that are due. Experienced estate planning attorneys help avoid contests over your estate when you’re gone and help avoid expensive administrative costs.
At JS Abrams Law, our Orange County estate planning lawyers explain which legal documents and strategies seniors, parents, and anyone else who is thinking about their estate should use. We draft the right documents for your goals, needs, and wishes.
Why Do Orange County Residents Need a Will?
A will is a primary way that testators (the person requesting the estate planning) determines who gets their assets and in what proportions. Wills are also used to achieve the following goals:
- Appointing an executor for your estate
- Appointing a guardian to raise your children if necessary
- Determining how your business will be managed and who will own the business when you pass away
Our Orange County estate planning lawyers also advise clients about what steps they can take to avoid contests over their wills by heirs and beneficiaries who think they should have gotten more. Wills in Orange County can be contested for the following reasons:
- The person who made the well was not of sound mental abilities at the time the world was prepared
- Someone exerted undue influence on the testator in order to gain a favorable disposition of the aspect assets
- The will did not comply with local formalities such as having witnesses
- There was a subsequent will or a codicil to the will
Minimizing The Property That Must Pass Through Probate
Experienced Orange County estate planning attorneys understand that it’s generally better if property does not pass through probate. Property that passes through probate takes more time to distribute to the beneficiaries. There are costs involved with probate. The executor assigned to handle the estate needs to collect, account for, and distribute the assets. Probate assets may be subject to federal estate taxes for wealthy decedents. Property that passes through probate can be contested if a will is contested. Some of the ways that probate can be avoided are the following:
- Titling the assets so that a spouse or joint owner automatically receives the assets without the need to go through probate. For example, homes are often titled as tenants by the entireties to ensure that a spouse can continue to live in their house.
- Bank accounts can be made payable on death to a named beneficiary.
- Life insurance proceeds should be made payable to a specific beneficiary and not the estate of the person who took out the policy.
Trusts can be used to hold and manage the property so the assets do not need to pass through probate. Often, spouses create pour-over trusts in combination with their wills. In this way, when the first spouse dies his or her assets are placed into the pour-over trust for the benefit of the surviving spouse. Trusts are also used if a child or family member has a disability, to minimize the amount of taxes that are due, and to protect assets from creditors.
Financial And Medical Powers Of Attorney
These documents authorize a designated person, an agent, to act on your behalf either immediately or if you become incapable of handling your own financial or medical affairs. Health care directives, living wills, and POLST forms are ways to ensure that hospitals and physicians respect your end-of-life decisions and how you should be treated in case there is a life-threatening emergency.
Ownership And Management Plans For Your Business
Estate planning includes planning what happens to your business if you have one. Normally, if you own stock in a business, you just designate who gets your stock in your will. Partners normally have a written partnership agreement that determines the rights of the other partners when one partner dies.
If you own a small business though, you may wish to have your spouse, children, other relatives, or other business workers, own and run the business. With a will, you can set forth who owns the business when you die. A will also provide a way for determining how the business should be sold if nobody is going to run it. Other legal documents such as business agreements, life insurance policies, and trusts may help transfer ownership of a business. Estate planning also includes anticipating who will manage the business when you’re no longer alive.
Tax Planning And Estate Planning In Orange County
If you have assets worth more than $11.7 million, you will be responsible for paying federal estate taxes. California does not currently have an inheritance tax. If the estate produces income though, you may need to pay a federal and a state fiduciary income tax. This is another reason to reduce the assets that need to go through probate and to close the estate as quickly as possible.
Depending on your assets, your family relationships, and your goals; there are often other estate planning considerations to consider.
At JS Abrams Law, our Orange County estate planning lawyers advise seniors, parents, and all adults about their estate planning requirements and needs. To schedule an appointment, call us at 818-330-4515 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment.
Contact Our OrangeCounty Estate Planning Attorneys Today
At JS Abrams Law, our Los Angeles estate planning lawyers work to review your needs and goals. We then work to draft the correct documents to meet your needs and goals. Call us at 818-330-4515 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.
Speak to our Orange Country estate planning attorneys by scheduling your consultation today by calling: (818) 330-4515
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