Most of us have heard “if you have a Will or a Trust it will avoid problems after you die, so be sure to have one.” The theory behind the statement is true. All people should have, at a minimum, a Will, preferably a Will and a Trust. These document(s) set forth what you want to happen with your estate when you die. Now, of course, there are certain things that must happen – notices to governmental agencies, payment of your debts, etc. but other than that, simply speaking, you will set forth the names of your beneficiaries and what they receive in your Will and Trust. This is especially important where your situation warrants something other than the standard equal share distribution to your children and/or beneficiaries.
A properly prepared Will and Trust are key. Sadly, there are numerous opportunities in the process of preparing a Will and Trust for mistakes to be made – mistakes that will cause a lot of issues long after you are gone. Using fill-in-the-blank forms welcome missing information and changing your intent when read by an attorney or judge after the fact. Using a non-attorney document preparer who forgets to include clauses necessary to effectuate your intent. Using a template online that you did not know was meant for a different state. Forgetting to include some of your assets because you mistakenly thought they already had a beneficiary designation. The list of possible pitfalls can go on and on.
We here at The Sterling Law Group, A P.C. not only prepare estate plans for our clients, but we also litigate the ones that were somehow defective. That means, we know what mistakes to avoid just a bit more than attorneys who have never stepped foot in a courtroom. We evaluate your situation and prepare a plan that will fulfill your intent while ensuring there are no issues that will result in your beneficiaries having to step foot in a courtroom.
Our estate plans are comprehensive and will include:
We can also incorporate into your plan your interests in a business, additional homes you may own, interests in timeshares, etc. We can also prepare Assignments to Trust for your valuable assets such as collectible cars, fine art, or heirloom jewelry. We construct the plan taking every aspect of your estate into consideration.
Once you have an estate plan in place, we can update it as often as you wish. Although California law states that an Advance Health Care Directive, Durable Power of Attorney, and HIPAA Release are effective upon signing and until you revoke them, we have clients who have encountered a great deal of resistance from a health care provider or financial institution when presented with “older” documents. Therefore, we recommend that you “refresh” your Advance Health Care Directive, Durable Power of Attorney, and HIPAA Release at a minimum every 3 – 5 years.
Preparation of your plan will consist of an initial appointment, completion of an estate questionnaire, review of drafts, possible additional appointment to clear up any questions or concerns, a signing appointment, and receipt of the deed(s).
Do not hesitate to reach out to our estate planning attorneys from The Sterling Law Group, A.P.C. to handle carefully every aspect of your case. Call us at (916) 790-0852 for a consultation.