Orange County Estate Attorney
Draft a Professional Will or Trust in Irvine or Beyond
Most people do not like to think about the future or what will happen to their property after they pass away. This is a natural reaction, but our Orange County estate planning lawyers at Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC encourage you to take the initiative and get your assets and property in order as early as possible. This is for your own peace of mind, as well as for the benefit of your loved ones.
Here are some of the excellent reasons why you should hire our attorneys:
- We put 50 years’ combined experience on your side.
- Our firm delivers exceptional client service.
- We offer top-rated counsel for even the most complex matters.
- Our team includes a California Board-Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, and Trust & Probate Law.
An excellent estate plan not only provides security for your loved ones but also gives you the certainty that your property will be passed on to those whom you desire to receive it. No estate is too large or too small to be eligible for an estate plan, so contact our professional corporation today to get started!
Understanding the Importance of Estate Planning
One of the main purposes of estate planning is to avoid probate. When a person passes on without leaving a clear estate plan–or any estate plan at all–the issue must be resolved through the difficult, stressful, and often emotional legal process known as probate.
A discovery process will need to be undertaken to uncover the entirety of the late individual's property and assets, after which their estate will be divided and distributed to all relatives, heirs, and beneficiaries under the supervision of the court.
Probate can be extremely problematic, often because arguments are sparked over who should receive what. All it takes to avoid these complications is excellent estate planning, an estate plan that explicitly states who receives every part of the estate.
To do this, you will need a qualified estate planning lawyer who is fluent in California’s legal system for both probate and estate planning. At Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC, we have the experience and dedication to craft a personalized, creative plan with you.
Do I Need a Will or Trust in California?
Typically, a living trust will replace the need for a will. However, expect your attorney to suggest creating a pour-over will that can include any assets accidently left out of the original trust. If you do not have a living trust, then a will needs to be created to outline how your assets will be dispersed. In addition, naming a power of attorney should be prioritized in the event that you become incapacitated. A power of attorney will have the ability to make decisions on your behalf regarding finances and healthcare.
Keep in mind, a will and living trust are completely different legal documents; neither will override one another. Still, if an issue arises then a living trust will usually take more authority because its an entity of its own. Deciding on whether to have a will or trust comes down to personal choice, as well as what factors are involved. It is not uncommon for most experts to agree that both are equally important.
The Components of an Estate Plan
The key components of an estate plan include wills, will substitutes, trusts, powers of attorney, medical directives, and tax considerations. It only takes one small mistake or even an ounce of ambiguity, and your estate could end up in the wrong hands or get wrung through probate court. Make sure you hire a capable estate planning attorney in Orange County from our professional corporation to properly draft a comprehensive estate plan.
We can represent your interests in matters of estate plan & elder law that include:
- Advance health care directives
- Asset ownership
- Beneficiary rights
- Beneficiaries with addictions
- Breach of trust
- Elder financial abuse
- Estate administration
- Fiduciary appointment/removal
- Medical directives
- Powers of attorney
- Property disputes
- Trust administration
- Trust disputes
- Wills & trusts
- Estate Planning for Women
The Importance of Funding a Trust
While creating a trust is a great strategy for managing your estate in the event of your passing, unless your trust is "funded," it will be of little value. Only trusts that are funded can keep your property out of probate court and accomplish the many things they are designed to do. To "fund" a trust simply means to transfer assets into them by changing the titles on any accounts, property, or beneficiary designations. An attorney can assist you with this process to ensure everything fully complies with California state law. Your attorney can also create a pour-over will that acts as a safety net in case you accidentally leave a property outside of your trust, though the probate process may apply.
Understanding Living Trusts
Having a trust with you as the current trustee is called a "living trust." A living trust will give you greater control than just having a will or property in joint ownership. Living trusts enable you to buy, sell, add, or remove assets as opposed to locking you into a "static" document that is difficult to adjust. Another key benefit of living trusts is the ability to leave an inheritance to your spouse without disinheriting your children or grandchildren. This can be an especially important feature when you have children from a previous marriage.
Paperwork and Trust Funding
Funding a trust will involve some very specific legal paperwork and requires you to survey your belongings as well as consider what you want to be included. A good estate planning lawyer will be able to guide you through the entire process. He or she can explain to you the legal details that will affect whether you want to include or exclude particular assets. For example, there are certain factors that go into the decision to either designate an individual beneficiary to an insurance policy or make your trust the actual beneficiary. You may also want to transfer bank accounts, contents of a safety deposit box, certain kinds of stocks and bonds, life insurance equity, and notes payable to your trust. IRAs and some other retirement accounts, however, may be best excluded.
Secure Your Digital Assets with Estate Planning
In today's digital age, it's important to consider the fate of your online presence and digital assets after you pass away. From social media accounts to online banking and cryptocurrency, your digital assets hold both sentimental and financial value. Without proper estate planning, these assets may be lost or inaccessible to your loved ones.
Our experienced estate planning attorneys in Irvine can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that includes provisions for your digital assets. We will guide you through the process of identifying and documenting your digital assets, determining who should have access to them, and outlining your wishes for their management and distribution.
Benefits of including your digital assets in your estate plan:
- Preserve sentimental value: Ensure that your loved ones have access to and can preserve your digital memories, such as photos, videos, and personal messages.
- Protect financial assets: Safeguard your online banking, investment accounts, and cryptocurrencies, ensuring that your loved ones can access and manage them according to your wishes.
- Prevent identity theft: By properly securing your digital assets, you can minimize the risk of identity theft and unauthorized access to your personal information.
- Save time and money: Including your digital assets in your estate plan can streamline the probate process, saving your loved ones from unnecessary stress, delays, and legal expenses.
Minimize Estate Taxes with Strategic Planning
One of the key benefits of estate planning is the ability to minimize estate taxes and ensure that your assets are passed on to your loved ones as intended. Estate taxes can significantly diminish the value of your estate, leaving less for your beneficiaries.
Our experienced estate planning attorneys at Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC can help you develop a comprehensive estate plan that includes strategic tax planning. By utilizing various estate planning techniques, such as gifting, trusts, and charitable contributions, we can help you reduce or even eliminate estate taxes.
Benefits of strategic estate tax planning include:
- Maximizing the amount passed on to your beneficiaries
- Minimizing the tax burden on your loved ones
- Protecting your assets from unnecessary taxation
Our team will work closely with you to understand your unique financial situation and goals. We will create a personalized estate plan that takes into account your assets, family dynamics, and tax implications. With our guidance, you can have peace of mind knowing that your assets are protected and your loved ones are taken care of.
Contact Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC
Matters of elder law and estate planning are too important to be put off until a later date. The sooner you get everything in order, the sooner you can relax in the knowledge that your property and possessions are secure after you pass on. While estate planning might at times appear an unnerving or even insensitive area of law, it does not have to be this way. Our team of compassionate, friendly lawyers is ready to go above and beyond to help you through the estate planning process as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Related Estate Planning Reading
- Estate Planning for Blended Families
- 10 of the Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes
- Key Steps in Asset Distribution
- Strategies to Help you Survive Tax Season: Maximizing Your Estate
Commonly Asked Estate Planning Questions
Do I need a will or trust in California?
Typically, a living trust will replace the need for a will. However, expect your attorney to suggest creating a pour-over will that can include any assets accidently left out of the original trust. If you do not have a living trust then a will needs to be created to outline how your assets will be dispersed.
What is funding a Trust?
Funding a trust simply means to transfer assets into them by changing the titles on any accounts, property or beneficiary designations. An attorney can assist you with this process and ensure everything fully complies with California state law.
What are Living Trusts?
Having a trust with you as the current trustee is called as 'living trusts'. A living trust gives greater control than just having wills or property in joint ownership. Living trusts enable you to buy sell add or remove assets as opposed to locking it into static document that is difficult to adjust.
What paperwork and funding does setting up Trust involve?
Funding Trust involves some very specific legal paperwork and requires surveying your belongings as well as considering what needs to be included. An experienced estate planning lawyer can guide through entire process and explain legal details affecting whether certain asset should be included or excluded from Trust.
We are in the business of helping families just like yours plan for the future in the most sensible and beneficial ways possible, and we are proud to have been successful in that effort. Read the testimonials of our previous clients to understand what it's like to work with our Orange County estate planning attorneys.
“Noah was great!”- Dellia & Michael
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