Life gets busy, and it can be easy putting off certain tasks—like developing your estate plan. Fortunately, an experienced Santa Rosa estate planning attorney can help you get started. Whether you are just beginning the process or ready to make some changes to your estate plans, a visit to a lawyer can get things moving in the right direction.
Santa Rosa Estate Planning Attorneys
At Galanti and Copenhaver, our Santa Rosa estate planning attorneys are here to help. Our lawyers have many years of experience handling all aspects of estate planning—from drafting wills to litigating estates. Contact our office today to schedule a meeting with one of our lawyers to begin the process of developing your estate plan.
What Can an Estate Planning Attorney Do?
An estate planning attorney can do more than draft up a will. When you meet with an estate planning lawyer, you will have the opportunity to discuss your estate planning goals.
Be sure to come prepared to a meeting with your estate planning lawyer by knowing what you would like to accomplish and bringing along relevant financial documents. Your lawyer can help you begin the estate planning process, or they can also help you make changes and updates as needed down the road.
Your estate planning attorney can also help you draft up power of attorney documents. You can create a medical power of attorney or financial power of attorney—ideally, both. With these documents in place, someone of your choosing can make medical or financial decisions on your behalf if, for some reason, you are unable to make them yourself.
Estate Planning Is Not Just for Planning Distribution of Your Assets
As you begin thinking about estate planning, it is essential to understand that estate planning entails more than just choosing beneficiaries to distribute your assets to upon your death. In addition to drafting power of attorney documents to help protect you during your lifetime, there are also other things that your Santa Rosa estate planning attorney can help you with.
When you meet with your estate planning lawyer, you can discuss current plans for any substantial assets you may have. Your lawyer can help you manage your assets in such a way that you avoid paying unnecessary taxes. Additionally, your lawyer may also be able to help you, and your beneficiaries avoid and reduce estate taxes when possible.
In some cases, your estate planning attorney can help you organize your estate in such a way that allows your beneficiaries to avoid having to go through probate to settle your estate. Probate can be expensive and time-consuming, so it is highly beneficial if you can structure your estate to allow your beneficiaries and loved ones to avoid it.
Creating a Living Trust
One aspect of estate planning that may be worth considering is creating a living trust. These types of trusts are created during a person’s lifetime to manage assets.
If you opt for a living trust, you will choose a trustee who will be responsible for managing the trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiary. It is imperative to choose a trustee that you trust to follow through with their duties and to manage the trust appropriately. You can choose a person to take on the role of trustee, or you can also choose a third party to handle these duties, such as an attorney or financial advisor.
Living trusts can be either revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust can be changed and updated down the road, while an irrevocable trust cannot be amended or changed unless special circumstances apply. When you meet with your lawyer, you can discuss whether creating a living trust is beneficial for you—and if so, which living trust best fits your circumstances.
Estate Planning Attorneys and Litigation
Another way that your estate planning attorney can help you is by handling court matters. Unfortunately, when money is involved, some relationships can become highly contentious.
If a family member feels like they were mistreated in the will or other aspects of the estate, they may decide to challenge the will. An estate planning attorney can help litigate issues regarding the validity of a will or any other legal disputes that may arise.
If a recently deceased loved one named you as a beneficiary of their estate, it could be helpful to consult with an attorney if the estate is particularly complex. It is also a good idea to talk to an estate planning lawyer if any disagreements begin brewing between other beneficiaries and loved ones regarding the distribution of assets.
Contact Your Local Estate Planning Attorney Today
At Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc. we are committed to delivering personalized legal guidance to you that is individually tailored to your unique circumstances. If you are ready to get started on creating an estate plan, contact us today at 707-867-0787 or fill out our online contact form.