Most of us spend our working lives acquiring enough assets to ensure our own financial well-being through retirement. And in today’s world, this means that we will have assets remaining at our deaths that will pass to our children. Most of us view these assets as a boon to our kids, that may help them pay for their own retirement, children’s education, or general financial security, but lots of pitfalls lie between our deaths and our children possessing those assets. The probate process, which is designed to ensure that the right people inherit our assets, is lengthy and expensive, costing from 2-4% of our estate in California. Proper estate planning can ensure our final wishes are carried out, avoid probate as much as possible, and minimize tax liabilities. For example, a trust can help avoid the probate process and protect loved ones from the stress and expense of probate.
Additionally, if we don’t create an estate plan prescribing how our assets should pass, many conflicts can arise between our loved ones about how who should inherit (beneficiaries), what should be done about assets like real estate or businesses, or even who should become the guardian(s) of our minor children. Without an estate plan, creditors and others can make a claim on the estate creating strife after our death. All of these pitfalls can result in the assets we viewed as a benefit to our loved ones becoming a burden or worse. But these difficulties can be avoided by creating a comprehensive personalized estate plan that will make our wishes known and assigning the execution of that plan to someone trustworthy, who will faithfully follow our wishes. For example a properly created trust will allow our assets to be passed down in an orderly process, without having to go through probate, and will permit our beneficiaries to make the best use of them quickly without the interference of those who would seek their own interests against your wishes.
There are many important tools to include in an estate plan. Attorney Fesler is an experienced and skillful estate planning attorney who can design a plan that fits your needs.