Estate Planning with an Attorney in San Diego: The Basics
To put it frankly, it’s never too early to start thinking about hiring an attorney for estate planning in San Diego. An estate doesn’t have to include a house, land, or large amounts of money. It doesn’t even have to include multiple items. If a person owns something of value (their asset) that they wish to pass on to someone else when they die, that, in fact, is their estate. On the other hand, someone with a large amount of assets needs to plan their estate for security reasons. Otherwise, with no estate plan and no will, when a person dies their assets will be taken care of according to the state. Estate planning with an attorney in San Diego is therefore important for peace of mind, and to make sure loved ones who are left behind are taken care of.
Important Factors of Estate Planning
Wills and Trusts
With a will, a person can declare their intentions in regard to their assets and/or property, and to whom those assets will go after the person is deceased (how the assets are distributed). A will is also used to designate guardians for minors or those who need care, choose an executor (the person who will carry out the terms of the will), and donate any assets to a chosen charity.
With a trust in accompaniment to a will, the assets are transferred to an individual or company (the trustee) who will manage them for the benefit of those named in the will (called the beneficiaries). This is a good idea if the beneficiaries are too young to receive the assets, and also to curb taxes on inheritances, such as estate taxes and gift taxes.
Applicable Taxes and Tax Laws
Taxes that may apply to estate planning include estate taxes, gift taxes, and state death taxes. Not all of these are applicable in all circumstances, however. It depends on where the testator (the person who created the will) lives as well as the size of their estate at the time of death. At the federal level, estate taxes only apply to those whose assets total more than $5.45 million dollars, according to Constance J. Fontaine, the author of Fundamentals of Estate Planning and a writer for Bankrate.com.
Reasons to Create a Will, No Matter the Stage of Life
Luckily, creating a will and/or trust helps offset taxes on assets and the transfer of those assets to beneficiaries. There are many more reasons to create a will, as well:
- If a person has dependents and they want to designate a successive caregiver for when they are gone
- If a person has wealth that they want distributed in a certain way, to certain beneficiaries or charities
- If a person wants their assets dealt with in a certain manner should they become incapacitated before their death
- In short, anyone who owns property should think about creating a will
Estate planning is not just for those who are old, infirm, or dying. Instead, it’s a smart action that people take who want to plan out their lives, not to mention choose where the product of that living will go.
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