3 Estate Planning Questions to Ask Yourself
Estate planning is not the most exciting or pleasant thing to think about. However, it’s an essential task. It allows you to take an active role in future preparations and to plan important steps that will help your family after you are gone. Estate planning can be a complicated process that consists of several parts. Luckily, a qualified lawyer can assist you with each aspect. The purpose of estate planning questions is to guide you through the process and to clarify any issues that you may be unsure about. In this post, we will take a look at some fundamental estate planning questions that you should consider.
1. Where is My Wealth Going After I’m Gone?
Where will your wealth go after you’re gone? This is a major estate planning question to consider. A large part of estate planning consists of drafting a will to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
As your wealth belongs to you, you have the right to distribute it in any way you like. You may wish to leave it to close family members or friends. Another avenue for distribution is charity. If there are charitable organizations that you wish to support, estate planning can be a wonderful way to do so.
2. What’s the Most Tax-Effective Route?
Unfortunately, taxes can eat up a significant portion of an estate. Luckily, there are ways to mediate this. When it comes to estate planning, taxes are an important consideration. If you do not have enough knowledge on this topic or need additional information, discuss the matter with a financial advisor.
3. Are My Documents Accurate and Up To Date?
The presence of a clear and current will is essential for proper estate planning. Legal documents provide the framework for the estate. All of these documents help in safeguarding your assets and serve as protection for your family.
Is it time to re-evaluate your will? Even if your goals and wishes are the same as before, your assets have probably changed. Furthermore, you may need to make adjustments to your executors or beneficiaries.
Other Estate Planning Questions
When you’re ready to take on the important task of estate planning, contact us. At Lewman Law, we can guide you through the process. Contact us by phone at (925) 447-1250, or online. We look forward to speaking with you.
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Top Duties of a Probate Lawyer
If you’re facing estate administration-related decisions after the passing of a loved one, it’s in your best interest to proceed with legal counsel. A probate lawyer is a licensed attorney who will represent you in court, provide you with expert advice, help you navigate complicated legalese, and assist you with the many different aspects of the probate process. These include distributing the decedent’s assets and settling their debts. The responsibilities of a probate lawyer largely depend on the existence of a will. Here are some examples.
Probate Lawyer Responsibilities – Will Present
If there is a will, a probate lawyer will advise the executor(s) of the estate (or a beneficiary) on a variety of legal matters and help to manage the entire probate process. A probate lawyer also reviews the decedent’s will to make sure it wasn’t written or signed against their best interest. If it was signed against the decedent’s best interest, or under duress, a probate lawyer is responsible for defending or filing a will contest. It’s worth noting that challenging a will is generally very difficult. Because of this, the vast majority of wills go through the probate process without any issue and are successfully upheld.
Probate Lawyer Responsibilities – Will Absent
If the decedent failed to write a valid will, their passing is considered intestate. As a result, their estate will be distributed according to the specific intestate laws of the state where their properties are located. The pertaining rules vary by state, but a local probate lawyer will be familiar with the rules in your area.
In this case, a probate lawyer will provide assistance to the administrator of the estate. The decedent’s assets must be distributed according to the relevant state laws, irrespective of the family members’ wishes.
A probate attorney can also assist with securing and filing a legal statement called “renunciation.” This may be applicable when one family member wishes to become the administrator of the estate.
There are many other probate lawyer responsibilities. Some of these include getting an appraisal of the decedent’s properties and effectively securing their assets. Additionally, they assist in preparing and filing all the required documents. A probate lawyer may also collect life insurance proceeds, handle payment of annuities, and deal with creditor claims. Similarly, a probate lawyer can also handle ancillary probate for a property owned in a different state, as well as take on other administrative tasks.
Bay Area Probate Lawyer
If you’re looking for a reputable and experienced probate lawyer in California, contact our office today. At Lewman Law, we work to expertly assist you throughout the probate process. Contact us by phone at (925) 447-1250 to schedule a consultation with John Lewman, Attorney at Law.
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Signs You Need to go into Probate Litigation
According to the law, each person has the right to determine who inherits their worldly assets after they die. This includes both financial and personal property. When someone passes away, probate is the process of validating and approving a will in a court of law. In California, this legal process generally takes six months to two years if uncontested. Several things must happen before an estate can be closed, and there’s a window of time in which the will may be questioned. If you’re worried about the validity of a Last Will and Testament, here are some probate litigation signals to watch out for.
Probate Litigation Signals
Probate litigation is necessary when there’s a conflict regarding the will itself, or who should be in charge of an estate. Before deciding whether or not to file a probate lawsuit, there are some signs to watch out for. Below, are several examples of common red flags.
- The executor is ignoring your messages or seems secretive about the process.
- You suspect fraud took place during the making of the will.
- You have reason to think the individual didn’t have the capacity to sign estate planning documents before he or she died.
- There is a suspicious inheritance that makes no sense.
- You have concerns about the power of attorney.
- There was a last-minute change to the will before your loved one died.
We Can Help
While these are a few probate litigation signals, it’s by no means a complete list. If you have other concerns or believe one of these probate litigation signals is relevant to your situation, don’t hesitate to contact us at Lewman Law. This type of case is challenging to sort out on your own, and the consequences are often high. Call us at (925) 447-1250, or visit our site for more information.
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The Top 5 Reasons for Probate Court
You may be wondering if you’ll need to go through the probate process. It’s one of the most common questions people have when a loved one passes away. Probate laws differ by state, so it’s important to discuss your unique circumstances with a reputable estate planning attorney. However, here are some of the top reasons for probate court to help you determine if it’s necessary in your case.
An Invalid Will
Probate court is necessary whenever a will is deemed invalid, but there are various reasons for why this occurs, such as the following examples…
- Mental Incompetence: The deceased wasn’t mentally competent when the will was drafted, calling the document into question.
- Improper Execution: The will was either unclear or not made legal.
- Undue Influence: There’s speculation that the deceased was under duress when the will was revised or created.
If there isn’t a will, the probate court is needed to sort out the deceased’s belongings. It’s a legal process to distribute assets and transfer titles of property. Unfortunately, there’s no other way to accomplish this.
It’s common for beneficiaries to be named. For example, on retirement funds, or life insurance policies. However, if none were designated, or they’ve since died, probate is required.
When assets are owned solely by the deceased individual, probate court is generally required to transfer property to a beneficiary’s name.
Tenant in Common or Joint Tenancy
Another reason probate may be necessary is if assets were owned as either a tenant in common, or a joint tenancy. What this simply means is that the deceased owned property with someone, like in a common law marriage.
Our Probate Court Services
If any of these common reasons for probate apply to your personal situation, we can help. Or, for more information about probate and how to avoid it, please contact Lewman Law at (925) 447-1250.
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