Fundamentals of Estate Planning in California

Posted on December 21, 2009
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Proper estate planning (will or trust) in California can save you a 1 hour e loans lot of money, headaches, and heartaches.

While you are living you can prevent the need to have 100 day payback loans a conservator appointed — this happens if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. 07305 cash advance Setting this up in advance through a will or trust means

your assets are protected — even from you — should you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. Many attorneys charge upwards of $20,000 to represent you in a conservatorship proceeding, and if it is contested costs can be much higher.</p>
<p>When you pass away, your estate may go through probate, a long and expensive process in California. Probate can take years, and the costs are prohibitive. The basic statutory fees for probating a one million dollar estate are currently $46,000. Remember, your house is valued at its gross value for probate, not your equity value. The larger your estate, the more expensive probate gets.</p>
<p>A Revocable Living Trust, sometimes known as a Living Trust, generally takes your estate out of probate, and is administered privately. The probate process is public — anyone can see what is in your will. This is not true of a living trust. The "administration" of a living trust is equivalent to the probate process of a will.</p>
<p>The cost of a living trust varies depending on which attorney you hire, and how complex your estate plan needs to be. If you own a number of rental houses, for example, the cost will be higher because a new deed needs to be prepared for each property. But if you own property in multiple states and don’t have a living trust, you’ll have to go through probate in each state!</p>
<p>You can expect to pay around $2,000 or so for a basic Living Trust package. Most attorneys will also prepare other documents for you, including a Durable Power of Attorney, and Advance Health Care Directive among others. If you need estate tax planning, planning for special needs children, pets, etc. the cost will of course be higher.</p>
<p>Some attorneys charge by the hour, and some offer a flat rate. Like dealing with any other professional, you should be comfortable with your attorney. Many lawyers offer a free initial consultation that allows you to discuss your needs and see if you are comfortable with the attorney.</p>
<p>The worst thing you can do is to do nothing. The probate process can be onerous, and it will come at the worst possible time. Without a document specifying where your assets go, they will be distributed according to the California Probate Code — which may not be what you want.</p>


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