Components of an Estate Plan
Breaking Down the Estate Planning Process in Orange County
Estate planning is a complex process with many facets, but a skilled Orange
County estate planning lawyer from Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC can
guide you through each step and provide comprehensive counsel.
Wills & Trusts
Arguably, the main component of estate planning is the drafting of wills
and trusts. Wills are generally recommended for individuals who have money,
assets, and property with a value of $150,000 or less, which they wish
to pass on to their loved ones. Wills are the most commonly used method
of documenting a person's wishes for the distribution of both personal
property and real property upon death. Generally, the goal of a will is
to help reduce and eliminate disputes that may arise among family and
loved ones after an individual passes away.
For persons with property worth more than $150,000, our attorneys recommend
that you pursue a living trust that places your property in the trust
of an individual or entity of your choice. This trustee will be responsible
for handling your estate during and after your death. The beginning of
any good estate plan includes a "revocable living trust," which
allows you to revoke or change it anytime, and as often as you like.
Trustees and Beneficiaries
A trust involves three parties: the trustor (person establishing the trust),
the trustee, and the beneficiary. The trustee is the individual or company
responsible for managing the property listed in the trust until the appointed
time when the beneficiary may come into their inheritance. This is often
used for children or young adults who are not likely capable of handling
the property to their best advantage until a later date.
Power of Attorney
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. This power can
be ongoing, or it can apply only to certain actions and dates. A power
of attorney is usually designated for financial issues during and/or after
your death; family issues such as caring for children after your death;
and healthcare directives regarding your own medical care if you become
incapacitated or unable to speak or care for yourself.
Medical directives usually listed in a person's living trust, list
a person's express desires regarding how they want to be treated in
the event of a serious illness or accident, including designating a power
of attorney. By putting such a plan together, your family and loved ones
will not have to guess what you would want them to do in the event you
become seriously ill or injured, and are unable to speak for yourself.
Common occurrences of such incapacity include traumatic brain injuries,
comas, strokes, and other situations that affect a person's mind or
ability to express their desires. Our lawyers understand that this is
a very difficult subject for most people to approach, and will take the
time to sit and explain what goes into deciding what to do in regards
to aligning it with your personal wishes. Although no one hopes that a
need for medical directives will arise, it is in your best interest to
ensure that your desires in this regard are established in case of an
unforeseen situation in the future.
Let an Orange County Estate Planning Lawyer Help You
Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC has assisted countless Orange County residents
through the process of estate planning. We have detailed knowledge of
each component and we can provide the comprehensive counsel and skilled
guidance that you need to get your property in order. Our attorneys are
very detail oriented and are skilled in uncovering unique solutions for
each client's case. We understand that each person's situation
is unique and we will approach your case with an open mind so that we
can achieve a satisfactory outcome.