Answers to Estate Planning FAQs from the Attorneys at Schlecht, Shevlin & Shoenberger
In Palm Springs and throughout Riverside County, the law firm of Schlecht, Shevlin & Shoenberger assists clients with a wide range of trust, estate and probate matters. The firm provides the following answers to frequently asked questions as a resource for clients and others seeking general information about estate planning and California probate administration.
Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning in California
What are the advantages of a living trust over a simple will?
A living trust provides a plan for the management of the assets held in the trust. In the event you become incapacitated, the person(s) specified in your trust as successor trustee(s) will assume the management of the trust assets on your behalf. Upon your death, the assets held in the living trust will be distributed to the trust beneficiaries in the manner you specify, without the need for probate.
How does a living trust work?
A living trust is a document created during your lifetime that allows you to specify who will manage the assets of the trust (the "successor trustee") and who will receive the assets of the trust (the trust "beneficiaries") after your death. During your lifetime, you are both the trustee and the beneficiary of the trust, ensuring that you still have complete use of and control over your assets. As the name implies, you can revoke the trust or make changes to the provisions of the trust during your lifetime.
In order to effectively avoid probate, title to your assets must be properly transferred to the trust. This important but often overlooked step in the estate planning process is referred to as "funding" the trust.
What other documents should I consider including in my estate plan?
As part of a comprehensive estate plan, the attorneys at Schlecht, Shevlin & Shoenberger may recommend a durable power of attorney for financial matters, which allows you to designate a person or persons to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. Our estate planning lawyers may also recommend an advance health care directive, which will allow you to specify your wishes regarding your health care and end-of-life decisions, and appoint someone to carry out your wishes. In addition, we create "pour-over" wills, which are wills which are designed to be used in conjunction with a trust. This ensures that if for any reason assets have not been funded into the trust, those assets will be "poured over" into the trust, or distributed in accordance with the provisions set forth in the trust.
Contact Schlecht, Shevlin & Shoenberger for More Information About Planning Your Estate in California
If you live in Riverside County and have more questions about estate planning, please contact Schlecht, Shevlin & Shoenberger today.