Our Santa Cruz estate planning attorneys will help you remain in the driver’s seat and ensure that your property and assets are divided up according to your wishes.
You have spent your whole life providing for your family and loved ones. Caring for them should not end once you are gone. While no one likes to think about their death, planning for the inevitable can give you some control and peace of mind. With an estate plan, you can decide how your family is provided for and who inherits your assets, with minimal taxes and burdens. When you are ready to establish an estate plan, experienced Santa Cruz estate planning lawyers can help you protect your loved ones from painful and lengthy probate proceedings.
What Is an Estate Plan?
Most people mistakenly believe that estate planning is just for the wealthy. However, everyone needs a plan for the future. If you own any property or assets, then an estate plan is the best way to protect your assets. This is the case as it will keep the courts from deciding who receives certain assets after your death. An estate planning attorney can help ensure that your property passes to your chosen beneficiaries quickly and efficiently. It can also ensure that your children are properly cared for.
Without an estate plan, your assets and your loved ones will need to undergo the probate process. During the probate process, the court establishes the value and distribution of your estate. The court will ultimately determine who will receive your assets and whether those assets distribution occurs outright. While California law governs the distribution of your assets in the absence of an estate plan, the law may not accurately reflect your desires.
What does an Estate Plan Include?
There are numerous documents that an estate plan can include, depending on your family situation, assets and goals. Some of those documents include:
A trust is a document that clearly states how you wish to divide up your property and assets upon death. You must appoint a trustee to carry out your wishes after your death. Trusts avoid probate and allow for the private handling of the estate, making them an ideal choice for many people.
Last Will and Testament
Similar to a trust, a will and testament will also determine who inherits your assets and your estate upon your death. Unlike a trust, however, a will has to undergo the probate process and becomes public record.
If you have a trust, then you also need a pour-over will. This document distributes your tangible personal property to your trust. In turn, your trust states how all of your asset distribution occurs on death.
Nomination of Guardian
This appoints a person or persons who will have physical custody of your minor children and who will manage your children’s assets. Without such designation, the courts will make those important decisions for you.
Durable Power of Attorney
You can appoint one or more people to handle your affairs when you are unable to do so due to injury or illness. For example, you might designate a spouse to be your healthcare power of attorney and your sister to be the financial power of attorney.
Advance Health Care Directive
This document designates an agent to make health care decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. It gives that agent information about your end-of-life decisions.
Estate planning offers you peace of mind. With an estate plan you will know that your loved ones will not have to undergo an expensive protracted probate proceeding after your death. It will minimizing the possibility of painful legal battles as it will clearly states:
- How your property distribution will occur.
- How the care of your children will occur
Contact the Law Office of Emily J. Buchbinder team at (831) 400-3496 or fill out our confidential contact form.
To learn more about estate planning, it is important to speak to an experienced and skilled Santa Cruz estate planning attorney today. We use estate planning techniques to help eliminate or minimize taxes at death. In addition, each estate plan we create is crafted to address your unique circumstances.
Customized Legal Strategies
Just like no two individuals are the same, our team believes that no two cases are the same. We work with you to ensure your legal strategy is crafted to address your unique circumstances.
Attentive & Skilled Representation
We understand that this is a difficult topic to think of, so our team of dedicated legal advocates compassionately works with you and your family in order to ensure you are in control of your future.
Certified Legal Specialist
Emily Buchbinder, our founding attorney, is a certified legal specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law. We have the tools, knowledge, and resources to help with your legal needs.