The Importance of Estate Planning

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2019 | estate planning

Regardless of where you are in life, it is always a good idea to plan for the future. One way you get started planning for the future is through creating an estate plan. There are many different ways to go about estate planning, such as creating a basic will or forming a trust. As the estate planning process can become complicated, it is important to speak with an attorney experienced in estate planning.

The attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver have many years of experience handling all aspects of estate planning. Whether you know exactly what you want, or you need guidance on developing an estate plan that best suits your needs, our attorneys are here to help. Contact our office today by email or by calling us at 707-538-4711 to schedule an appointment.

How to Determine What Type of Estate Planning is Best for You

Many people do not know where to begin when it comes to estate planning. There are many different options to consider, whether you have a large number of assets or whether you have a smaller estate. Other considerations include whether you have children, a blended family, or children with special needs. You can choose a simple will, or you can set up a trust. You can also choose to create a special needs trust to take care of a beneficiary with special needs, which allows them to continue receiving government benefits associated with their disability. Your estate planning attorney will help you decide what type of estate planning is best for you.

Three Major Reasons You Should Have a Plan in Place for Your Estate

1. Your estate plan can designate a legal guardian for your minor children.

Even if you are young and have not accrued substantial assets yet, it is still a good idea to have an estate plan. This is particularly true if you have children. If you pass away without designating a guardian for your minor children in your estate plans, they may be placed in the care of someone determined by the court. This may not be the same person that you would have chosen, so it is important to have a will in place in which you designate the legal guardian for your minor children in the event of your death.

2. Your estate plan can help your beneficiaries and family members avoid unnecessary conflict and strife over your estate.

Another reason to have a plan in place is that with a will or a trust designating what assets or property go to which beneficiaries, you can allow your relatives and beneficiaries to avoid fights and family drama as to who is entitled to what from your estate. Though you may think your family would never fight over these things, it is an unfortunate reality that sometimes money can bring out the worst in people. By having an estate plan, you can help your family avoid these issues.

3. You can allow your beneficiaries to skip the process of probate

Depending on the estate plan you choose, you have the option of creating a revocable or irrevocable trust that can allow your beneficiaries the ability to avoid going through probate to settle your estate. Probate is the process of the court settling your estate by paying off any creditors and distributing assets to your heirs. Generally, the assets of your estate will be distributed to your chosen beneficiaries if you have a will in place. However, under some circumstances, the will may be challenged. If there is no will, your assets will be distributed through probate according to California state law.

4. You can save your beneficiaries money on estate taxes.

One of the main reasons people choose to create an estate plan is to help their beneficiaries avoid significant tax payments they would otherwise owe on distributions from your estate. Your estate planning attorney will help you decide what form of estate planning will result in the best financial outcome for your beneficiaries.

One way to save on estate taxes is to create an irrevocable trust. While an irrevocable trust cannot be changed or modified, one of the main benefits to creating an irrevocable trust is that the assets in the trust no longer belong to you, so estate taxes are not charged to it upon your death. With a revocable trust, like with an irrevocable trust, your beneficiaries are able to avoid the often lengthy and expensive probate process; however, unlike with an irrevocable trust, there will be estate taxes that must be paid.

The attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver know it can be difficult to know where to begin with estate planning. Our attorneys have helped many clients create estate plans, and we are ready to help you get started today. Give us a call today at 707-538-4711 to begin planning for the future.