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What is a Living Trust?

Regardless of your age or current financial situation, it’s smart to think about estate planning. Even if you already have a will, one thing you might still want to consider setting up is a living trust. Why is that? Here are some tips from a Brentwood trust attorney to cover the basics.

What is a Living Trust?

Essentially, a living trust is a useful estate planning tool that appeals to many people. This legal document allows you to place things like bank accounts, property, or investments in a trust while you’re still alive. What this means is that you remain in full control of your valuables during your lifetime, while also naming future beneficiaries. A revocable living trust leaves you with access to make changes at any time, so you aren’t legally locked in. Spouses can be named co-trustees too.

The Benefits of a Living Trust

A Brentwood trust attorney can go over your estate plan in more detail, but there are a couple main benefits to setting up a trust:

1) Skip the Probate Process

Probate court can be a lengthy process that is best avoided whenever possible, but a will needs to pass through probate in order to be verified as legitimate. This is also true for estates that have no estate plan at all. Debts are settled, taxes are paid, and assets are distributed to heirs. But one of the main benefits of a living trust is that it can bypass the drawn out process of probate court. There are, of course, other ways to skip the probate process, but these are best gone over with your Brentwood trust attorney.

2) Secure Your Privacy

The other top advantage of setting up a living trust is that it allows you to secure your privacy. Did you know that when you create a will it actually becomes a public document once you’re gone? This means it can be contested. The probate process is on full display for public viewing, so anyone who is interested can review the details of your estate. On the other hand, when you create a living trust with your Brentwood trust attorney, it remains a private document. It’s often easier to challenge a will than a trust. For starters, because a trust isn’t open to public speculation. If you’d prefer to keep the details of your personal estate “in the family,” a trust is one way to accomplish that.

Create a Living Trust

Do you have other questions about trusts? It’s important to plan for the future. And not only that, but to keep your plan current as circumstances change. Whether you’re considering drafting a will for the first time, or updating your estate planning documents, Lewman Law is here to help. Protect your family and your assets by calling us today at (925) 447-1250. Or, click here to fill out a convenient contact form.

Filed under Legal Services

4 Warning Signs You Need a Probate Lawyer

If you’ve recently lost someone close to you, then you may be on your way to sorting out the probate process. Are you concerned that you might need probate litigation? This can be a stressful time for a number of reasons, but especially if there’s any conflict over how a loved one’s belongings are distributed among beneficiaries. Sometimes there are disagreements even if the deceased left behind a will and other estate planning documents. If this is the case, it’s best to consult with an experienced probate lawyer.

Probate litigation can be emotionally and financially costly, so let’s first review some warning signs to give you a better sense for when it might be time to call a probate lawyer to represent you in settling the estate.

Do You Need Probate Litigation?

The need for probate litigation arises whenever there’s a disagreement about the probate process. Most often, this occurs when a surviving family member makes a claim or raises a dispute. A petition is filed and the court must address is.

Times When Probate Litigation is Necessary

1) A Contested Will

This is a common plot in films—the missing, contested, or forged will. If there are questions about the validity of any estate planning documents, litigation is likely inevitable in order to come to a resolution.

2) The Executor’s Responsibility

If it seems that the executor of the estate isn’t handling their role properly or providing enough transparency, this is a clear warning sign that should be explored further in more detail.

3) Spousal Elective Share

A spouse can’t be legally excluded from the estate unless there was a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. In this case, the spouse has a legal right to claim a share of the estate. What exactly the spouse is entitled to depends on the rules of that state. There is generally a time limit on these claims, though.

4) No Estate Planning Documents

If there isn’t a will, the need for probate litigation becomes much more likely. That’s why it’s so important to have your estate planning documents in order, long before you ever need them, and also to keep them updated. In the absence of a will, family conflict is more common. This is especially true when people are grieving because emotions are running high and it’s harder to think clearly.

Livermore Probate Litigation

If you have any lingering concerns about the probate process, or think you might need probate litigation, contact Lewman Law at 925.447.1250. John Lewman is a distinguished Livermore attorney. Learn more about his background by clicking this link.

Filed under Legal Services, Probate Tips

Why Choose Lewman Law For Your Estate Planning?

It’s always important to have your affairs in order, but more people have been thinking about their estate planning needs this last year due to the pandemic. And with so many options, how do you choose the right Livermore and Pleasanton estate planning attorney to manage these sensitive documents? If you need estate planning services in the Bay Area, read on to learn more about what Lewman Law has to offer.

Education

John Lewman is the founder of Lewman Law, APC. He first studied economics before going on to complete his legal training at the McGeorge School of Law, located in the state’s capital. He passed the bar in 1994, the same year he graduated. Since then, he has distinguished himself as a dedicated and compassionate attorney.

Mission

John’s mission at Lewman Law is to safeguard your family as if it were his own. With over twenty years of professional legal experience, both in and out of the court room, John has the know-how you need to provide the best possible care.

Our Services

At Lewman Law, we offer probate and trust administration, estate planning, will disputes and trust litigation, as well as help with Medi-Cal qualifications. You can take a more in-depth look at our services by clicking here.

Whether you’re wondering what should be included in your will, or the best trust to set up for your children, Lewman Law is here for you. These are some of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, so you need a skilled attorney who can guide you through the process—from start to finish. Or, maybe you already have an estate plan, but it hasn’t been updated in a while. We can take care of that, too.

Pleasanton Estate Planning Attorney

For a Pleasanton estate planning attorney who can handle all of your estate planning and probate needs, contact Lewman Law. Office hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. We’re happy to answer any questions you have. Call today at (925) 447-1250, or email by clicking this link.

Filed under Legal Services, Uncategorized

5 Facts About a Living Will For Medical Emergencies

You may already have a will set up for the end of your life, but have you considered you may need a living will? Living wills are legal documents that specify what to do in the event that you are seriously injured or sick and become unable to make decisions for yourself. These documents are sometimes referred to as an advance healthcare directive. Here are five key facts to understand how they work.

Naming Someone to Act on Your Behalf

You can use your living will to designate another person to make important decisions for you. Most people choose a spouse or another trusted family member. It’s also possible to designate a healthcare agent to make decisions about your medical treatments if you become unable to do so. Some people opt to give this person broader power of attorney to make any legal decisions on their behalf.

The Details of Your Healthcare

In your living will, you can specify various details regarding your healthcare treatment. For example, many people choose to add specific directives regarding pain management.

Talk to Your Doctor

You should always discuss your living will with your doctor. When your physician is aware of your arrangement ahead of time, he or she can make better decisions about your care in a medical emergency.

It’s Not Written in Stone

You can always change the information provided in your living will. However, you will need to make sure that you legally revoke the previous document in order for the new draft to be effective. Remember, it’s important to review your documents to make any relevant updates. Changes depend on your life circumstances.

Who Needs a Living Will?

Anyone can benefit from a living will. Many people think they’re too young to need one, but the unfortunate reality is that a medical emergency can strike at any time. It’s simply the best way to ensure your treatment preferences are honored.

Your Living Will

Although it’s unpleasant to think about medical emergencies, it’s important to prepare for anything so your family won’t be left to make difficult emotional decisions under pressure.

If you’re interested in setting up a living will in the Bay Area, contact Lewman Law at (925) 447-1250. We can help you protect your family.

Filed under Legal Services