If you are like a lot of people, you have a worrying feeling that you need to plan and organize your affairs so that your loved ones are able to carry out your wishes once the time comes. But like most people, you have not taken the steps necessary because it sounds hard or expensive or unpleasant. You are smart to pay attention to that worrying feeling. Here at the Law Offices of Edwin J. Rambuski, we will assist you through the right choices for your future and the future of your loved ones.
What is Probate?
• Filing a deceased person’s Will with the local court
• Identifying and inventorying all the deceased person’s property
• Having the property appraised by a court appointed appraiser
• Paying all debts, including estate tax
• Eventually, the deceased person’s property left in the probate court is distributed to heirs and beneficiaries
• The lawyer and executor are each entitled to fees for handling the probate case, the fees are a percentage of the estate. Probate fees for an uncomplicated estate with a value of $500,000 could amount to $10,000 to $15,000
There are a number of legal methods to avoid the time and expense of probate entirely:
• Revocable Living Trust
• Joint Tenancy and Tenancy by the Entirety (for married couples)
• “Pay-on-Death” designations, available for bank accounts, stocks, bonds and vehicles
• Life insurance,and retirement accounts distributed to designated beneficiaries
• Gifts made during your lifetime
Wills ~ The Most Basic Estate Planning Device
• Names an “Executor,” the person with legal authority to administer and transfer your property
• Allows you to leave your property to the people you want to inherit it
• You can revoke or change a Will at any time
• Assets left by a Will go through Probate
• If you die without a Will, your money and property will be distributed by persons selected by California law, your relatives closest to you according to a set formula
• Much less expensive than a Living Trust
• A Living Trust makes transferring your property after death quick, easy and private
• A Living Trust can save your family a great deal of money by avoiding probate
• A Living Trust can be useful if you become incapable because of physical or mental illness
• The person you name to serve as Trustee can take over the management of your assets without the necessity of a court conservatorship or guardianship proceeding
• Your Living Trust estate plan is confidential because it is not filed with probate court and therefore it does not become a matter of public record like a Will
• You can appoint guardians for your children
• Your Trustee can hold your assets in trust for your children for their support and education until an age determined by you.
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