A Carefully Crafted Will Is The Foundation Of A Strong Estate Plan

A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes and provides a plan for how they will be carried out. There are several different types of wills that can be tailored to meet your specific needs. At the law firm of Alice A. Salvo, we assist residents of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, including Encino, Tarzana, West Hills, Van Nuys and Woodland Hills, as well as all surrounding cities. Let us help you understand the benefits of drafting a well-thought-out will and explain the various options for leaving your estate to your beneficiaries.

What A Will Can And Cannot Do

A will can establish:

  • Who will be in charge of your estate
  • The guardian for your minor children
  • A testamentary trust

A will does not cover:

  • Joint tenancy assets
  • Life insurance and retirement plans
  • Assets held in a trust

A will does not protect your estate from going through probate. There are several ways to avoid probate, and our Woodland Hills wills law firm can advise you on what those options are.

Wills And Trusts Explained

What is a trust? Do I need to hire a lawyer? Typically referred to as a living trust, this is a legal document allowing you to make gifts of money, property or both, without court supervision, after your have died. Having an experienced estate planning attorney draft a trust and including a will may work together to have advantages over having only a will.

Naming someone you trust to manage your assets in case you pass away or become incapacitated is important. Consulting with an attorney to draft a will specific to your wishes is a smart move, insures it is a valid will, and may avoid future will disputes. There are advantages of a living trust, also called a revocable trust, compared to a simple will. Our knowledgeable estate planning attorney can review this with you.

Advantages Of Living Trusts

A trust can usually transfer assets to the next generation without using the court, therefore avoiding court fees and court-related attorney fees. Many situations, especially for transfers other than between spouses, a California probate action may be necessary when a will or state inheritance law is the way of transferring more than $150,000 in savings or $50,000 worth of real property.

Trust advantage for a married couple — A trust can make federal estate taxes less likely for large estates. The 2016 statistics mention the federal estate tax takes effect only on assets of $5,450,000 or higher. For 2017, the federal estate tax is implemented on assets of $5,490,000 or higher. For more detailed information get in touch with a knowledgeable will attorney with the details of your situation.

A trust may manage assets for family members that are not able to handle their own finances, or who would lose benefits if they received assets directly. In the trust parents can specify how they want their children to be provided for in case of a family disaster. A wills law firm is familiar with trust law and consulting a wills law firm can prevent problematic will disputes.

Will Contests And Will Disputes

Once a family member has died, it is not unusual other family members to get involved with will disputes. Wills may be challenged for various reasons.

Was the will properly executed? It is important for the will to be signed and witnessed correctly. Did the person have capacity? The issue is if the person was mentally competent and of sound mind upon execution of the will. Was there undue influence? Many times, an individual may have influenced the decedent prior to death. If there are multiple children and one ends up with all assets this may look suspicious and in fact be undue influence. If a caregiver ends up with all assets, this can look suspicious, especially if there are children and the children should be the heirs. If an individual tries to persuade the decedent to change their will or estate plan to unfairly benefit the individual, this is undue influence and can result in a will dispute. It often happens where the decedent has Alzheimer's or dementia and diminished mental capacity. What does revoke a will mean? In simple terms it means destroy it.

The goal is to avoid will disputes. However, they do occur. Alice Salvo, an experienced attorney, can provide trusted guidance through complex will disputes.

Experienced Representation You Can Trust

At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we provide cost-effective estate planning strategies that can help save your heirs money and taxes. With more than 25 years of experience, we are dedicated to helping people protect what is most important to them. We can help you determine the best way to distribute your estate among your heirs and help minimize potential future complications such as will disputes concerning your inheritance.

Ready To Help

If you want to know more about how our estate planning law firm can benefit you, speak with us. Use our online contact form or call 818-676-9572 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your options.