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Financial representative in the event of incapacity, your preferences for a financial representative in the event of incapacity. Wills also do not cover all types of assets, as they do not apply to retirement plans, life insurance policies, or other assets with named beneficiaries.
A Will may be sufficient for your needs and estate, but consultation with legal counsel to find out is recommended. MNB’s attorneys have the knowledge and experience to advise you if a Will alone is sufficient to secure your property and final wishes, or if your estate and your intended beneficiaries would be better protected using a Trust.
Trusts are private documents and the person or persons creating them is referred to as a “settlor.” A Trust avoids the probate process and is intended to successfully keep the settlor in control of his or her assets and the distribution of the same upon death. Trusts can be used to help qualify for Medi-CAL, protect property from creditors, or to protect and assure the care and well-being of non-human family loved ones using a Pet Trust.
After your death, only those beneficiaries named in the Trust are told about the assets and distribution. A trust is a separate legal entity from the settlor. Once established and had property transferred or sold to it, the trust states who controls the assets in the Trust and whom is the beneficiary of the Trust’s assets during the settlor’s lifetime and thereafter.
Revocable Living Trusts are most common in California. Upon the settlor’s death, a revocable living trust avoids the need for probate proceedings in court, saving the estate the fees, costs, and time delays typically occurring with intestate succession (and sometimes even when one has a Will, but no Trust). The revocable living trust provides an economical way of distributing assets upon death, can reduce estate taxes (which can be especially beneficial for a surviving spouse of a married couple), and provides a means for appreciable assets to be transferred with a “stepped-up” valuation to avoid possible capital gains taxes. The Trust sets forth who will act as Trustee and the successor Trustees and can be revoked (cancelled) or changed at any time while the settlor has sufficient mental capacity.
There are other asset protection options such as Irrevocable Trusts, Credit Shelter Trusts, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, and Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, which can also have tax advantages for both the beneficiaries and the donor. The use of these asset protection options in your Estate Plan is dependent on the size of your estate and the types of property it holds.
MNB has relationships with some of the top asset protection companies and plan creators and works closely with them to ensure your asset protection plan and Estate Plan complement each other and work together to protect as much of your accumulated wealth as possible, protection your interests and those of your family and intended beneficiaries for years to come.
If you are going to take the time to set out your wishes and desires and try to plan for the future of you, your family, and your intended beneficiaries, do not settle for “form” Trust and Estate mills or online internet DIY trusts. Time and again, MNB’s attorneys have seen that when a loved one passes or becomes incapacitated the trust mill’s “cookie-cutter” trusts and free internet-template trusts lack many of the needed strategies for asset protection, smooth distribution of assets, and the transition to successor trustees. This leaves family members to live with major problems and typically they spend more in court and trying to fix the problems than the settlor would have spent to go to a competent, experienced Woodland Hills Estate Planning attorney, like the ones at MNB, to have the Trust drafted when established.
Unless you use a competent Estate Planning attorney that understands your assets and family situation, you will likely have a problem with your estate plan, and you will not know until it is too late. It is imperative to seek out a trusted Estate Planning attorney, and MNB has those attorneys for you. MNB’s attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to protect you and your family with an appropriate Estate Plan. At MNB, Woodland Hills Wills and Trusts our attorneys are detail-oriented and client-focused and treat your assets and family as we treat our own giving the necessary time and attention to ensure they are appropriately protected during your lifetime and after your death.
With their experience in the family law, business law, and estate planning arenas, the attorneys at MNB understand the importance of providing, and have the knowledge and experience to provide, the careful and proper planning you need to ensure your safety, comfort, and stability, and to alleviate your family of the pressures and uncertainty of what to do in the event of your death or incapacity
If you are over the age of 18, have any assets that do not have named beneficiaries already, and do not have legal documents regarding your desires and directions upon your incapacity or death, it is advised you seek experienced legal counsel to have an Estate Plan created. MNB’s Estate Planning attorneys have the requisite knowledge and skill to make this as easy as possible. Our attorneys are ready to help you understand your options and take the steps needed to ensure the successful implementation of your wishes.