When most people think of wills and estate planning, they think of money and real estate, but in reality, some of the most contested items may be things of sentimental value. Your will lawyer in Tracy can help you decide the best way to give away sentimental items when you prepare your will.
For some people, it makes sense to give away sentimental items now, rather than allowing them to be distributed after your death. You get to see people enjoy the gifts, and you can prevent any squabbling between relatives. You may also find out that what people are sentimental about it not what you think. If your will lawyer suggests putting items in the will instead, he or she will encourage you to be as specific as possible. For instance, simply saying that all of your belongings go to your children leaves the door open for disputes over who gets which belongings. Your attorney may also help you create a framework for settling disputes, such as setting up a bidding system your heirs can use if more than one person is adamant about getting an item.
The creation of wills is only one step in the estate planning process. When you consult an estate planning lawyer near Tracy or Manteca, you will be asked to designate an executor . The executor is the person who is charged with the task of identifying assets, satisfying liabilities, and distributing assets to beneficiaries in accordance with the will. Finding the right executor can be challenging because, as you’ll learn when you watch this video, executors have difficult tasks to manage that can take months or even years to complete.
Ideally, you should choose someone to manage your estate who has a background in finance or at least is comfortable handling financial matters. Choose someone who is reasonably intelligent and detail-oriented. The expert in this video also explains the surprising reason why it’s advisable to select an executor who has substantial personal assets.
Personal injury cases rest on the concept of negligence. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, he or she will consider the role of negligence in your case, including whether the negligence rests solely with the other party or if you contributed to the accident in any way. If you can be proven to have a role in causing the accident, your lawyer in Tracy may adjust the kind of compensation he or she pursues on your behalf. These concepts are known as contributory and comparative negligence, depending on the laws in your state. Here is what you need to know.
Contributory negligence is a system used in only a handful of states: Maryland, Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. Under this system, accident victims who were responsible for any part of an accident can be prevented receiving any compensation at all for their injuries. Even if the role of victims was very small and their injuries are severe, the contributory negligence system means that they may be full responsible for all of their own damages, including long-term financial problems caused on ongoing medical bills or the inability to work. The all-or-nothing nature of contributory negligence is the reason it is only used in a small number of states. Other states have decided that contributory negligence is too extreme and instead rely on comparative negligence.
The comparative negligence system lets defendants in personal injury cases mount a partial defense, in which they argue that the victim has some degree of responsibility for the accident, so they should only be eligible to receive a reduced amount of compensation. Usually, this is expressed as a percentage, and the assigned percentage of responsibility is the percentage of available compensation the victim receives. In some states, including California, there is a pure comparative negligence system, in which victims can receive compensation even if they were more negligent than the defendant. In modified comparative negligence states, accident victims must be less negligent than defendants to receive damages in a personal injury case.
Inheritance disputes are an unfortunately common part of estate settlements. They are the last thing most people want to consider happening after they pass, and fortunately, you can minimize the chances of them happening in your family with the help of a will attorney in Tracy and Livermore . Working with a will lawyer will help you do everything from reducing the burden of inheritance tax on your heirs to keeping the potential for conflict under wraps. Here is what you need to know about considering the risk of disputes and accounting for them during your estate planning process.
Reduce the Risk of Surprises
Your will is a bad place to surprise your family. If you are planning to split up your inheritance in a way that is likely to catch your family off-guard, then consider discussing your decisions with them in advance. By having the discussion when you’re in the midst of estate planning, you can explain your reasons and allow your family to express their own feelings about your decisions. Even if they ultimately don’t like the decisions you are making, they are less likely to dispute them when your will is read, since they are prepared for what is coming and have likely had a chance to come to terms with your choices.
Pick an Executor Cautiously
The executor of your will can have a big impact on how smoothly your estate settlement goes. Although many people choose their oldest child, it doesn’t have to be him or her. Review your options with the help of your lawyer and choose an executor who is honest and capable of communicating effectively with all of your heirs.
Pay Attention to Sentimental Items
Sometimes the items that are most in dispute are sentimental things rather than money or property. Some people avoid conflicts over these things by distributing things while they are still alive. If you prefer to include things like family heirlooms in the will, consider attaching short explanations of the way you are splitting things in your will as well. Remember to be as specific as possible over who gets what, so that your wishes aren’t open to interpretation.
If you aren’t sure whether you should set up a trust or if you have never made a will, it’s time to visit an estate planning lawyer in Tracy or Manteca. A seasoned lawyer can explain complex estate planning structures, review your unique situation, and offer effective legal guidance that protects your best interests . Remember to bring a list of your questions to your consultation with the will attorney.
Benefits and Uses of Wills
A last will and testament is a legal document that ensures that your wishes are carried out after your death. It is possible for a will not to be enforced if it was created improperly, which is why it’s always advisable to have a lawyer create this document for you. You may already know that wills can identify the beneficiaries who will receive your assets after your death. You may also select secondary beneficiaries to receive assets in the event that your primary beneficiaries did not survive you. One advantage of wills is their versatility. In addition to bequeathing your assets, you can use your will to identify a guardian for your minor or disabled children. You can even specify the person who should take custody of your pets. When you have a valid will, you can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your wishes will be honored even after you pass on.
Benefits and Uses of Trusts
Like a will, a trust is a legal document. However, it can be used to manage assets during life and after death. Most of the time, setting up a trust does not eliminate the need to create a valid will. Your trust might not include all of your assets. Plus, you’ll still need your will to designate a guardian for your minor children and name an executor for your estate. The primary benefits of setting up a trust include protecting your assets from creditors, minimizing estate and gift taxes, and, after you die, distributing assets to your beneficiaries in a way that bypasses the probate process.
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