Understanding the Basics of Estate Planning

Far too many people die intestate, which means they pass on without a will. When this happens, their assets are dealt with in accordance with state intestate succession laws. In some cases, when an heir cannot be identified, it is possible for the state to claim these assets. You can easily avoid these problems by consulting an estate planning lawyer in Tracy or Livermore. Your estate planning attorney will carefully review your finances, offer sound recommendations, and provide you with all the information you need to make wise decisions for your heirs.

Will
Living Trust and Estate Planning in Tracy A last will and testament is a crucial document to have, regardless of your health or age. As your circumstances change, you may wish to visit your lawyer to have your will revised. For example, if you have more children or if grandchildren are born, you may wish to adjust your will to reflect your new inheritance preferences. Your lawyer will draft your will for you to ensure that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes after you pass on. Your will can be as detailed as you like. For example, some people simply prefer to leave all their assets to their spouse, while others prefer to designate heirs for specific items. You might leave a valuable jewelry collection to a granddaughter, for example, and leave a vehicle to a sibling. You can also

use your will to leave gifts for your favorite charities. For parents and legal custodians, having a properly drafted will is particularly important. Your will can designate a guardian for any children who are still minors when you pass on. If you take care of someone who is mentally or physically incapacitated, you will also need to designate a guardian for that individual.

Trust
Another basic component of estate planning is creating trusts. A living trust goes into effect during your lifetime, while a testamentary trust goes into effect after your death. You can transfer certain assets to a trust to protect them and reduce the tax burden. Trusts allow for the speedy distribution of assets to beneficiaries after a death. They may also place limitations on inheritances.

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