The most basic estate planning involves forming a revocable living trust. Transferring your assets to a revocable living trust during your lifetime enables your family to avoid probate at death. Probate is the court-supervised process whereby assets are distributed after a person dies. Even if you have a will, your estate will go through probate. In California, probate is expensive and can take months if not years to complete. When your will is probated, there is no privacy; all information about your assets and beneficiaries is made public.
By contrast, if your assets are held in a living trust, the transfer process at death is completely private, less expensive and usually takes significantly less time. A living trust can also provide for the seamless transition of asset management and decision-making should you become incapacitated. By creating a living trust with your estate planning lawyer, you can decide ahead of time who will make decisions for you and how your resources will be used to take care of you and the ones you love.
Fundamental estate planning also includes powers of attorney for financial management and healthcare decision-making and the nomination of guardians for minor children.
Call us today at our San Francisco Office at (415) 693-0550 or our Santa Rosa location at (707) 544-8462 to inquire about a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!