- What is a Estate Planning?
- Estate Planning Services We Offer
- Estate Planning FAQ
- Estate Planning Fees
- Estate Planning Law in California
- Estate Planning Process
- Why Wadhwani & Shanfeld for Estate Planning?
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the process of pre-determining to whom your property will go when you pass away. A proper estate plan takes into account not only your wishes about property, but also looks at your family situation to determine if, for example, you have children who would need a guardian in the event of your death.
Estate Planning Services We Offer
A will is a legal document that instructs on how to distribute your property upon your death. Since you will be unable to make your wishes known, it is important that you set them out in a legally binding document, such as a will, to ensure that your property goes to who it should.
However, a will is not just used to distribute property. It can also be used to appoint an executor, who will oversee the actual distribution to make sure it goes according to your wishes. Further, if you have children, a will can also be used to set out who will be their guardian if you die. Overall, it is an extremely important document to have, and while it is unpleasant to consider such possibilities, once you have your will created you will comforted in having addressed the uncertain to ensure your family is taken care of. Wills
A trust, or more specifically, a living trust is legal device created to allow one person, a trustee, to manage property for the benefit of another, the beneficiary. While often the trustee and the beneficiary are different people, this is not a requirement.
As there can be significant tax benefits to establishing a trust, people often create trusts in which they are both the trustee and the beneficiary. Integral to the success is the manner in which the trust is set up and structured. Thus, it is important to use the services of an experienced estate planning attorney to minimize your tax liabilities by maximizing your tax benefits.
In addition to the tax benefits, trusts are also useful in expediting the process of property distribution upon the trustee’s death. Ordinarily, property devised in a will must be administered through a probate court, which can be costly (5% of estate) and time-consuming (months or years before resolution) process. With a trust, property passes to the intended beneficiaries without the hurdle of probate, thus bypassing the cost and time.
Trusts, however, are not for everyone. Typically, we would only advise you towards a trust if you own a home or have assets of $100,000 or greater. Trusts
Estate Planning FAQ
Q: What is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust?
A: This is probably the most common estate planning question that is asked. Both a Living Trust and a Will are documents to give instructions how to handle your affairs when you pass on. The similarities, however, end there.
The main difference between a Living Trust and a Will is that assets held in a living trust do not go through the probate process. This is because the assets are no longer held in the individual’s name, but rather by the trust, with the individual acting as “trustee,” or administrator, of the trust. This makes the transfer of your property upon death much more simple, and avoids a potentially lengthy probate process that can take months or even years.
Another difference is a Will still requires Probate so your affairs are no longer private, but rather appear in the public record in the form of court documents. With a Living Trust, Probate is avoided altogether, so your affairs remain private and not available in the public record for public scrutiny.
There are also potential tax advantages to a Living Trust versus a Will, but a Will allows you to appoint guardians for minor children, which cannot be done through a Living Trust.
There are many other differences. We recommend you schedule a free 30-minute in-office or telephone consultation with us to determine whether a Will is sufficient for your situation, or whether you need a Living Trust.
Q: Do you service my location?
A: We service all of California, with offices in Sherman Oaks, Long Beach, Ontario, Lancaster and Los Angeles.
If it is not convenient to visit one of our offices, we can handle your entire case by phone and email! Please give our office a call for a free consultation.
Estate Planning Fees
Our fees are competitive and reasonable, and based on how much work your case is and what services you are interested in. Please call our office for a free consultation to find out more.
Estate Planning Law in California
In California, if you create a will or trust describing your wishes for your property, that terms document will be carried out by an executor, whose actions will be overseen by a probate court judge.
If you do not create a will, trust or other testamentary document, however, your property will be distributed according to a pre-determined scheme called “intestacy.” Under this, the court will distribute your property in pre-determined shares down the line of your heirs until your property is exhausted.
While intestacy is designed to mimic your likely intentions, by first distributing to immediate family and then more and more remote family if there is no immediate family, why risk it? After all, friends are not accounted for as heirs, nor are pets. The state of California will get your property before they will.
Don’t leave it to chance, let us help you take matters into your own hands.
Estate Planning Process
The process of planning your estate starts with a call to your office. We offer a free consultation, and can get you speaking with an attorney to advise you of your options and answer your questions.
After learning about your situation and wishes, we will then prepare a number of documents. We will educate you on the entire estate planning process to you, and carefully explain how each document fits into the picture, such that you understand how each addresses a legal need or you or your loved ones.
Once your documents are finalized and signed by you, you will feel at ease about your decision to address these matters now, rather than waiting until it was too late.
Why Wadhwani & Shanfeld for Estate Planning?
At Wadhwani & Shanfeld, APLC, we have the experience to help you design the best plan to take care your loved ones when you pass on. We have prepared hundreds of estate plans, and can guide you through the process. With our A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, you can be assured that you are getting professional and personal guidance on your case.
If you are interested or have questions, we offer a free consultation so that you can learn more about your options.
We also have offices conveniently located throughout Southern California. If you do not want to come in to our offices, we can handle your entire case over the phone and by email.
Please give us a call for your free consultation and take the first step towards securing a certain future for your loved ones.