Beverly Hills Wills and Trusts Lawyers Helping You Plan for the Future
Death is never a pleasant topic but planning for what will happen after you die is part of life. When planning for what will happen after death, most people take the time to create a will or trust. Without these legal safeties in place, property, assets, and even minor children could be left at the mercy of state law and the legal system. This is why consulting with will and trust lawyers is the best bet when planning for the inevitable. Regardless of age or financial status, everyone should consider what will happen to their property, assets, and family to ensure their requests are followed after death.
Do I Need a Will?
A will is a legal document everyone should consider as part of their end-of-life planning. The main function of a will is to protect and direct the distribution of property and assets following death. Property and assets will be divided or distributed to the individuals named as beneficiaries or heirs in the will. Since a will is a legally recognized document, it is often used to communicate other essential information, such as naming guardians for minor children and communicating funeral or burial plans in the process.
Unless you have no loved ones and no ownership of anything of semi-value, you need a will. Since it is very unlikely for people to have no loved ones or anything of semi-value, everyone should have a will, if for no other reason than to communicate burial plans. If a person owns real estate of any value, they need a will. If a person owns anything of value (a paid-off vehicle, for example) and wants to leave it to their family, the person needs a will. The best way to assess the benefits of this type of legal protection is to discuss it with a wills and trusts lawyer. There are many reasons to put a will in place, and an experienced will and trust attorney will be able to answer questions while guiding clients through the process.
What Happens If I Don’t Have a Will?
What happens to houses, other assets, funeral plans, and minor children without a will in place will depend on a few factors, such as state law and marital status. For example, real estate ownership may default to the surviving spouse in some states. If the deceased has children from a previous marriage, real estate ownership may be split between the children and the surviving spouse as beneficiaries. With a will in place, this problem can be easily solved so that property is distributed according to the wishes of the deceased. Without a will, state law would dictate what happens to all assets, which may not always be what the deceased would have wanted. What if a person doesn’t have a will and is unmarried with no children? In some states, real estate and assets could fall under state ownership.
A will offers peace of mind that houses and other assets will go where you want them to go when you inevitably die. If you have minor children, you need a will, if for no other reason than to name guardians in the event of your death. While minor children will fall under the custody of the surviving parent, there is the unfortunate and all too common occurrence of both parents dying at the same time. Spouses dying together could leave minor children temporarily without guardians, which would add more emotional scars to an already traumatic time in their young lives.
What is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust?
A will transfers all named assets to a beneficiary upon the death of the will holder. A trust is a more customizable option that may allow for certain rules or guidelines to be enforced. For instance, a living trust can be created and begin distributing to the trustee while the trust grantor is still living, or it may be set to begin when the grantor dies. There may also be certain stipulations attached to the distribution, such as a trustee reaching a certain age or only a portion of the financial assets being distributed at a time. When deciding which one is right for your needs, an experienced wills and trusts attorney should always be consulted. There are many factors at play, and each person’s situation is unique. A will and trust lawyer can help clients navigate the available options and find the one that works best for them.
Let Us Help You
Planning for your death is part of a smart financial plan. Whether looking to protect your loved ones, your assets, or both, we help clients find the right option for wills and trusts. Let us help you by reaching out to us at (310) 271-7675 today for legal services.