Frequently Asked Questions
Estate Planning Lawyer in Orange County
An excellent estate plan provides security for your loved ones and gives
you certainty that your property will be passed on to those whom you desire
to receive it. Generally, an excellent estate plan will be comprised of
a Will/Will substitute, Trust, Powers of Attorney, and Medical Directives.
- Who needs an estate plan?
No estate is too large or too small to be eligible for an estate plan.
No matter the size of your estate, you should have an estate plan so that
you are prepared for the future with someone designated to manage your
assets and/or make decisions in the event you are unable to do so yourself.
A trust is a legal document that acts much like a will, by documenting
how you want your affairs handled after you pass away. Trusts are placed
in the control of a person or other entity, known as a "trustee,"
who is in charge of handling the property according to the wishes of the
deceased. Please note, there are various types of trusts, each of which
has its own requirements and benefits.
- What powers does a trustee have?
A trustee will have the duties designated in the trust, as well as the
statutory duties that are required by law. There are several statutory
duties applicable to trustees to ensure that they are carrying out the
trust in the manner the trustor wished.
- What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person the legal
power to act on your behalf when you are unable to do so.
Orange County Probate Lawyer
Probate is the process of determining the rights and obligations of a person's
legal matters and finances after they die, including debt resolution and
the clearing of titles. This must all be accomplished before a single
relative or heir can receive any part of the decedent's property.
- How long is the probate process?
The length of the probate process depends upon the complexity of the estate.
One must take into account the required periods of time, such as a four-month
creditor's claims period, as well as the availability of court dates,
and any other problems that may arise along the way.
- What is an executor/administrator?
executor is a personal representative named in the will by the deceased. The executor
is responsible for carrying out the probate process, by protecting the
deceased person's property and distributing it accordingly. There
are certain situations in which the court must appoint a personal representative
to carry out these duties, which is known as the administrator.
A will allows a person to state how they want their estate distributed,
as well as to whom. It is a common misconception that those who pass with
a will avoid the probate process. However, wills must still be distributed
through the probate process, unlike non-probate transfers such as trusts.
- What happens if you die without a will?
When a person passes without a will or will substitute, their entire estate
must pass through the probate process. The lack of will requires a decedent's
estate to be distributed according to the intestacy statutes rather than
being distributed according to their wishes.