San Bernardino California Wills and Trust Lawyers
Residents of San Bernardino want to live in their wonderful communities for as long as possible. Residents want to ensure their children, grandchildren, and even-great children can enjoy the same cultural activities, the same or better financial opportunities, and the same strong family ties.
To ensure your spouse, family, friends, and the organizations you support are protected – our skilled estate planning lawyers prepare wills and trusts on your behalf. Wills designate who owns your property and assets after you die and ensures that your children will have a guardian you trust in the event you die before your children become adults. Trusts help you provide income now to family members and others in need. Trusts help protect your assets from the expense and time of probate.
At JS Abrams Law, our experienced San Bernardino wills and trusts counsel new parents, seniors, and anyone with significant assets about their estate planning needs. We explain when you should prepare a will, the benefits of a will, and we prepare the wills for you. Our lawyers explain how trust agreements provide financial security for the people and interests you care about.
What are the reasons San Bernardino residents prepare a last will and testament?
There are several core reasons for preparing a will. The main reason is that without a will, the state of California decides what happens to your property, who raises your minor children, and who manages your estate. Wills help with the following issues:
- Distribution of your assets. Your assets include your home, cars, bank accounts, retirement accounts, personal possession, business, and anything of value. Many people leave their real and personal property to members of their families. You can include nephews, nieces, stepchildren, and other relatives – in addition to your spouse and children. You can also leave your property to charities and nonprofits if you like.
- Appointment of a guardian for your children. If the other parent of your child dies before you, then your child needs someone to raise him if you also die before the child turns 18. Guardians are often other parents or friends who have children of their own or people such as a sibling or aunt who loves your child.
- Appointment of an executor. The executor is the person (or entity such as a bank) you choose to manage your estate when you die. The executor is responsible for identifying your assets, collecting or selling those assets, paying any debts and administrative fees, and then distributing the property to the rightful heirs.
- Deciding what happens to your business. If the transfer of your business isn’t provided for elsewhere (such as in a partnership agreement), a will is used to:
- Determine if your business will be sold and distributed to the heirs
- Transferred to people you want to own and/or run your business such as a daughter or son
- Determine what business method will be used to place a value on the business
How often should San Bernardino residents review or update their will?
Generally, you should consider a new will or a codicil/change to your current will if your family relationship changes (such as if you have a new child or there is a divorce), if you launch or improve your business, or if there is a significant change in your assets.
What is a trust document?
Trust documents generally involve these three people:
- The settlor of the trust. This is the person who creates the trust
- The beneficiary of trust. This is the person who receives the income (and possibly principal) from the trust
- The trustee. This is the person you select to manage your trust. The trustee can be a person or a business.
The main parts of a trust are:
- The trust assets. These are your possessions that you place in the trust. The assets can just be a specific dollar amount. They could be any or all of your assets.
- The terms of the trust. The terms are the conditions that the trustee must comply with for the benefit of the beneficiary.
- The length of the trusts. Trusts must have an end date. When the trust ends, the trust terms should determine what happens to the assets that are still in the trust
What types of trusts do San Bernardino residents use?
Our San Bernardino wills and trust lawyers discuss your goals for your family. We explain the different types of trust agreements that may satisfy those goals. Some of the common types of trusts are:
- Trusts for minor children. Many parents create trusts to ensure their children, grandchildren, or other minors in their extended family have the funds they need for their health and their education. Generally, the trustee manages the trust for the benefit of the minor until the child graduates for high school or college.
- Special needs trusts. Some government programs condition their aid on the requirement that the beneficiary (no matter his/her age) have assets or income below a specific monetary level. Special needs trusts are a way to ensure the beneficiary qualifies for the governmental program and still has the extra funds they need.
- A lifetime trust. In some cases, you may want to ensure a spouse or someone you care for has a home and/or assets to enjoy their life – for the rest of their life. When the beneficiary dies, the trust funds are distributed in accordance with the trust terms.
- Pour-over trusts. Sometimes, spouses create joint trusts and wills. Essentially, the assets of the first spouse to die are transferred to the trust of the other spouse – so the assets don’t have to pass through probate.
Trusts are also used to reduce any federal taxes that may be due, to protect assets from the reach of creditors, and to ensure personal injury victims have the funds they need to pay their health providers.
At JS Abrams Law, our San Bernardino wills and trust lawyers speak with you about your wishes for your family and the other people or organizations you care about. We explain the clauses and terms for these legal documents that should work best for your personal and financial situation. To discuss how wills and trusts can secure your family’s future, call us at 818-330-4515 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.