Creating a practical and comprehensive estate plan can seem like a daunting task. There are multiple types of estate planning documents that all have different legal requirements and effects. Making a mistake in creating these plans could result in legal complications for your estate and lead to animosity between your heirs.
Working with a trusts and estates lawyer could help you prevent misunderstandings and conflicts among your relatives after you pass away. A dedicated attorney could help you identify your goals, provide recommendations for estate planning documents, and take the necessary steps to create these documents.
Identify One’s Estate Planning Goals
Effective estate planning begins long before an individual begins writing their end-of-life documents. An experienced attorney will typically begin by helping the individual identify their assets and goals. This includes determining what property needs to go into an estate plan and deciding who should inherit certain property.
Once these goals are established, an attorney could help an individual create testamentary documents that reflect these goals. These can include traditional wills as well as a variety of trusts that serve to transfer ownership of property. An attorney could also ensure these documents meet the state’s legal requirements.
For example, California Probate Code § 6110 states that a testator must sign the will in the presence of two witnesses. Those witnesses must also sign the will in the presence of the testator. Working with a seasoned lawyer can help individuals better understand their trust and estate planning needs and create documents that carry the proper legal impact.
Navigating the Probate Process
A local attorney familiar with trusts and estates law could also help surviving family members navigate the probate process. Probate is the process where the Probate Court ensures the proper administration of a decedent’s estate. It begins when any interested party submits a petition to the Probate Court according to the procedures listed under CA Prob. Code § 8000.
Many issues could arise during the probate process, including disputes over the authenticity of a will and the role of the executor of the estate. A lawyer could provide families with essential support during this process by submitting an official request to initiate probate, arguing for or against the validity of a will, or assisting executors in their roles.
Contact a Trusts and Estates Attorney Today to Get Started
Having a proper estate plan is essential for your peace of mind and your heirs’ futures. Modern estate planning options allow for combinations of wills and trusts for maximum flexibility. A trusts and estates lawyer from our firm could help you craft end-of-life documents or navigate legal processes after the loss of a loved one.
Given the complex nature of trusts and estates law, you should avoid handling these legal issues on your own. Any legal errors could complicate matters for you and your family. Having a lawyer by your side could ease the process. Contact our firm today to set up a consultation and meet with a skilled attorney.