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

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.

Contact our offices right away to get started.

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