WILLS, TRUSTS & ESTATE PLANNING
Generally, there are two main vehicles that can be utilized to protect assets and provide for love ones in the event of a death: wills and trusts. A trust enables you to create a separate legal entity to protect your property and assets from probate, taxes and public scrutiny.
Estate planning is one of the most important plans one should make during their lifetime. We all do our best to prepare for life ahead; from purchasing insurance policies that protect our assets to investing for our retirement, we routinely make decisions that have an effect on our future.
While few of us like to think about our last days, it is important to have your affairs in order so that you can be sure that your loved ones are cared for and that your assets are distributed or maintained in the way that you intend. Drafting a trust and correctly funding it with all of your assets is one of the best ways to avoid the necessity of court supervision and/or probate proceedings. Going through the process of estate planning now will save your family later.
Trusts may be established while you are living or may be established upon your death via specific terms set forth in your will. Trusts can be revocable, changeable, or they can be irrevocable. The type of trust that you choose to create establishes how much control you have over the property that you place within it.
Some individuals think that if they draft a trust they can bypass the necessity of having a will, this is simply NOT TRUE. A will is a legal document that has a variety of purposes. A will is the vehicle that is used to name guardians for your children and to specify who will inherit your property after you die. Even with the creation of a trust, it is necessary to draft a “pour over” will to ensure that all of your assets pass or “pour into” your trust.
Even if you currently have a will, it is important to understand that your estate will still be subject to probate proceedings in California. It is for this reason that Kestler | Derryberry LLP’s Attorneys focus on a combination holistic approach to estate planning. Through the use of trust agreements, wills, and powers of attorney for both financial and health care matters, our Attorney’s create a truly complete estate plan. A plan that you can count on when it matters most.
Included among the various estate planning techniques that the attorneys at Kestler | Derryberry LLP employ are: Revocable Living Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Grantor Trusts, Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, Charitable Lead Trusts, Charitable Remainder Trusts, Special Needs Trusts and Intentionally Defective Trusts.
In addition to trusts and wills, Kestler | Derryberry LLP is experienced in advising clients regarding the use of and in the preparation of durable powers of attorney and advanced health care directives. A power of attorney is a document that allows you to appoint someone else to transact various types of financial transactions for you. A power of attorney is deemed to be “durable” when it contains special provisions that allow the document to stay in effect, or become immediately effective, in the event you become mentally incompetent.
An advanced health care directive (also known as a power of attorney for health matters) is a document that allows you to direct someone else to make decisions for you regarding health care in the event that you are no longer able to make such decisions for yourself. An advanced health care directive is a document that ensures that your wishes are followed with regard to medical treatment even if you are unable to communicate what those wishes are at the time that the treatment is necessary.
The experienced Attorneys and caring staff and Kestler | Derryberry LLP provide you with valuable foresight and precision that the drafting of estate planning documents require. From simple wills to complex trusts to powers of attorney, our office can help you make the estate planning decisions that will give you peace of mind and that will benefit your loved ones when it matters the most.