Wills and trusts offer a wide range of estate planning benefits for individuals and families at all stages of life. These tools provide peace of mind because you can rest assured you have a plan in place for whatever the future holds. At Pakpour Banks LLP, our Davis wills & trusts lawyers have extensive experience creating custom-tailored estate planning documents for clients from all walks of life and varying levels of net worth. We are available to immediately meet with you to discuss your needs and get started on drafting documents that will provide you and your family with peace of mind for years to come. Contact us today.
What Is a Will?
A last will & testament—often called a will— is a legal document in which you name an executor for the estate and provide instructions about how you want your property distributed after you die. Wills are the cornerstone of most estate plans. By creating a will, you provide important information about how you want your assets distributed upon your death. You can also name a guardian for any minor children you leave behind. While almost every estate plan contains a will, each person’s will should reflect their own unique circumstances and goals.
Why Do I Need A Will?
Wills, like trusts, allow you to make critical decisions regarding your loved ones and your property. If you have minor children, for example, you can appoint a guardian for them in your will. You can also name an executor who will be in charge of your personal obligations, such as the filing of your final tax returns. Finally, wills can help ensure that property inadvertently left out of your trust is placed in after your death and go to the right beneficiaries.
While not required, a will is a good complement to trust and is highly recommended to ensure that your wishes are heard. Call our California wills lawyers today at Pakpour Banks LLP for help in discussing your will and making sure that your legacy is protected.
What Happens if Someone Dies Without a Will?
If you die without a valid will in place, the court will still distribute your property to your heirs. However, because the court will not have any direction, it applies a set of default rules. These rules are called intestacy laws, and they leave the court with no discretion in how it passes down your assets. While intestacy laws work well as a backup plan to prevent your assets from escheating to the State, they do not take your individual preferences into account. For instance, if you are estranged from a child and do not wish them to get part of your estate, that won’t matter if you don’t leave a will. In the absence of a will, a judge cannot consider your relationships or desires. They must pass down your estate according to the default rules.
What Are Trusts?
A trust is another common estate planning instrument that serves many purposes. For example, through a trust, it is possible to accomplish any of the following:
- Reducing the number of estate assets that are subject to probate;
- Limiting an estate’s tax exposure;
- Qualifying for Medicaid;
- Exercising control over beneficiaries’ access to their inheritance;
- Shielding Assets from creditors; and
- Providing for loved ones with special needs after you die.
Generally, trusts are either revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust is a good option for those seeking flexibility. However, they do not offer as many benefits as irrevocable trusts. Perhaps the most common example of a revocable trust is a living trust. A living trust removes estate assets from probate; however, they are still subject to estate taxes.
Irrevocable trusts, on the other hand, provide tremendous benefits but cannot be modified or terminated after they’ve been established. An example of an irrevocable trust is an asset protection trust, which places assets out of the reach of most creditors in the event of a judgment against you.
Reach Out to the Davis Wills & Trusts Attorneys at Pakpour Banks LLP Today
Formed in 2019 by the merger of two of Yolo County’s best law firms, Pakpour Banks LLP is a respected estate planning law firm serving clients across Yolo County, Sacramento County, Solano County, and the surrounding areas. We offer a comprehensive suite of estate planning services and can help your family create a will, trust, healthcare proxy, power of attorney, or any other estate planning instrument. We also represent beneficiaries, trustees, and executors who find themselves in the middle of a will & trust contest. To learn more and schedule an initial no-obligation consultation today, you can also reach us through our secure online contact form.
Our experienced legal team handles other types of cases as well, including: