Estate planning can be complicated, but delaying getting your affairs in order may lead to undesirable consequences. If you’ve experienced a change in life circumstances, such as the birth of a child, a marriage, or the death of a family member, it’s time to make an appointment with a will lawyer with offices in Tracy or Livermore. Your estate planning attorney will walk you through the process step-by-step.
Wills are a cornerstone of estate planning. A will serves several functions, including providing for the distribution of your property in accordance with your wishes. If you die intestate, which means without a last will and testament, then your property may be distributed in accordance with the laws of your state. Of course, it is not necessary to list every valuable item you own in your will. A simple will may leave all of a person’s possessions to his or her significant other. Or, you may designate most of your possessions to one person, with the exception of certain family heirlooms to be passed along to other individuals. You can also use your will to make charitable contributions and designate an executor. If you have minor children or you care for a permanently disabled individual, you can use your will to designate guardians .
You may have other beneficiaries in addition to those you name in your will. If you have a life insurance policy, you should check your designated beneficiaries and update this information if need be. You may also designate beneficiaries for your retirement plans.
You may choose to have your estate planning attorney establish a trust, which may provide tax advantages for your heirs. You can also use a trust to control the distribution of property after your death. For example, you may wish to leave assets to your minor children, but you may not necessarily want them to have access to the funds right away. You could structure your trust so that your children will receive a certain amount at specific intervals. A trust can help prevent financial irresponsibility among younger beneficiaries.