The Common Questions People Ask About Estate Planning

The Law Offices of Angelo J. Lagorio helps people with a full range of estate planning and probate matters. The process starts with getting your questions answered. These are just a few of the estate planning FAQs we hear from our satisfied clients.

What Is Estate Planning?

There is no single specific legal product known as an estate plan. Estate planning is the general term covering a comprehensive range of legal strategies to help individuals and families protect their financial legacies. Common legal documents and strategies include a last will and testament, powers of attorney over medical and financial decisions, advanced health care directives, conservatorship over an incapacitated loved one and trusts.

Why Do I Need A Last Will And Testament?

In most cases, assets will automatically remain in control of the surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, however, a transfer of assets can become more problematic. If the person dies without a will (the legal term is "intestate") the estate must go through the probate process and the court will decide how the assets and property are to be distributed among surviving heirs. In most cases, the court will transfer the assets to adult children or the conservancy of a minor-aged child. Anyone with a challenge to the assets may file a claim and the estate may proceed through litigation. An updated will is the only way to ensure your assets and property will be passed on to the specific people you intend to have them.

Why Is A Trust Important?

When financial assets or property is placed in an irrevocable trust, it is not taxed as income. By placing your money, you will be turning administration of the assets over to a trustee that you name. The trust administrator will have fiduciary responsibility for investing assets and distributing the money according to terms of the trust. When you set up the trust, you determine the terms and conditions under which the money may be distributed to your chosen beneficiaries. Trusts can be set up to help your children and grandchildren pay for college, buy a house or start a business. For example, a charitable remainder trust is a great way to continue supporting your favorite charity after your death. Setting up an irrevocable trust means that you cannot reclaim the assets. A revocable trust does not offer quite the same level of tax benefits, but allows you to avoid probate because all of your assets will be placed in a trust.

Contact Us To Get All Of Your Estate Planning Questions Answered

If you reside in the Bay Area and need assistance meeting your estate planning goals, talk to a lawyer you can trust. Call attorney Angelo Lagorio at the Law Offices of Angelo J. Lagorio. We have an office in Fremont, California, to serve you and people throughout the Bay Area better. Call us at 925-750-8757 or send an email with a brief description of your estate planning needs.