CALL OUR IRVINE OFFICE TODAY - Local: 949-450-0041
The Flanigan Law Group. A Professional Corporation

Irvine Wills & Trusts Lawyer

Two of the most important aspects of estate planning in Irvine and throughout the state of California are wills and trusts. These documents allow you to distribute your assets and property to the right people after your death. Without either of these documents in play, the distribution of your assets and property will be determined by state law and will not likely be handled in accordance with your wishes. This is where an Irvine wills and trusts attorney comes in.

When drafting a will or putting a trust into place, there is always the possibility for errors to occur that could lead to further legal headaches. It is crucial then to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help mitigate these potential errors and can help with specific wording to ensure your heirs avoid any future challenges after your passing. Life is uncertain, but here at The Flanigan Law Group, we’re here to help.

Irvine Wills and Trusts Attorney

Why The Flanigan Law Group

For the safety and security of your legacy, legal counsel is vital when planning for the future of your estate. Wills and trusts must be created according to state and federal laws and guidelines in case a will is brought to probate court or if either of these documents are challenged by outside parties.

At The Flanigan Law Group, we have over 30 years of experience in probate law, and our team is ready to walk you through every step of this often complicated and difficult process. Wills and trusts are a necessary piece of the estate planning puzzle, and here at The Flanigan Law Group, we can do everything in our power to ensure that your estate plan is solid and will protect your hard-won legacy for generations to come.

What Is a Will?

In the state of California, a will is a legal document dictating the wishes of an individual that can go into effect after they die. It can include their wishes regarding the handling of their remains and how all money, assets, and properties will be distributed between heirs. It can also name a trusted person or a number of people who act as guardians in cases when minor children are involved. An executor may also be named in the will or someone who is in charge of carrying out what is written in the will.

However, it is important to keep the following facts in mind when considering the creation of a will:

  • Wills are required to go through the probate process
  • Wills only go into effect once the person who created the will passes away
  • All assets named in the will must be distributed via estate and trust litigation
  • After the person who created the will passes away, the document must be verified by a probate judge

It is also important to remember that there are several requirements for creating a will in the state of California. You must be of legal adult age or be an emancipated minor. You must also be of sound mind, meaning you understand the significance of your will, must be able to recognize your relatives, know what property you own, and not suffer from any mental health disorders such as delusions. Your will must be typed or printed on paper and not exist in digital or audio formats only.

At The Flanigan Law Group, our team can assist you in making sure your will is laid out in a manner that meets all federal and state requirements and ensures the protection of your estate according to your wishes.

What Is a Trust?

In general terms, a trust is a legal arrangement that allows a trusted third party, or a trustee, the power to oversee assets owned by an individual’s estate. The person who created the trust, or the grantor, names beneficiaries who will receive some portion of the trust, like monthly payments or certain assets and properties.

It is also important to note that the grantor is able to decide which assets are moved into a trust. There are many different kinds of trusts that can be created, but the main two are living revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts.

A living trust is managed by a trustee but can take effect as soon as it is created, even if the grantor is still alive. Living trusts do not require probate courts and can allow named beneficiaries to acquire their pieces of the trust at specific times or during specific circumstances.

An irrevocable trust cannot be altered during the grantor’s lifetime. However, they do come with stronger protections against estate taxes and possible liabilities. Common kinds of irrevocable trusts include special needs trusts, life insurance trusts, charitable trusts, and asset protection trusts. These kinds of irrevocable trusts offer protection for your wealth from lawsuits and creditors, help reduce tax liability, allow your estate privacy, and offer the means to control your wealth and methods of distribution to beneficiaries.

Trust Administration and Trustees

When a trust is created, a person, or the trustee, is legally designated to manage and distribute all assets and properties owned by the trust. This must be done in accordance with the grantor’s wishes, and a trustee can be removed if they abuse the power given to them by using trust funds for their own personal gains or by mismanaging funds and assets.

Trustees must also notify all beneficiaries of their portion of the trust and avoid creating any conflict of interest. They must stay up-to-date on all estate taxes, settle any outstanding debts owed by the estate, and keep detailed records of all funds passing in and out of the trust.

How The Flanigan Law Group Can Help You

At The Flanigan Law Group, we have been helping clients with estate planning needs for over three decades in Irvine and throughout the state of California. While walking you through this process, we take into account your family structure and dynamic and stay up-to-date on all tax law and California estate and probate law. We can help ensure your wishes are met and carried out and the legalities of your trust or will are solid and can hold steady for years to come.

The team at The Flanigan Law Group has a firm grasp of the California state laws surrounding the creation and establishment of wills and trusts. We can help you draft any of the necessary documents and can look over everything to make sure your interests are protected and ensured.

FAQs

Q: How Much Does a Will and Trust Cost in California?

A: In the state of California, the cost of creating a will or establishing a trust can vary widely. Factors such as geographical location, the quality of the attorney you are using, the complexities of your estate plan, and the kinds of assets and properties being placed specifically into a trust can all affect the costs incurred when setting up a trust or drafting a will.

Q: What Type of Lawyer Should You Use for Wills?

A: The type of lawyer you should use for a will is an estate planning attorney. Because of all the complex laws wrapped up in these legal matters, estate planning attorneys are able to focus on all the details of your trust or will and can allow you the peace of mind of knowing that your estate plan will be established, managed, and executed correctly.

Q: What Are the Negatives to a Trust vs Will?

A: Like most things, there are certain downsides to the creation of trusts and wills. Trusts can often be expensive to set up and you are required to provide more information upfront. It can also contain more complex and costly documents. A will may cost less to draft than a trust, but it does require your family to go through the probate process after your death. It also doesn’t allow for much personalization and won’t protect heirs from creditors.

Q: Why Is a Trust Better Than a Will?

A: The main benefit of a trust versus a will in the state of California is that a trust does not require your family to go through the process of probate court. A trust can also provide protection against creditors when it comes to your beneficiaries and their inheritance. Trusts can also help reduce estate taxes owed and can protect any governmental benefits for beneficiaries with disabilities.

Talk to an Experienced Irvine Estate Planning Attorney Today

No two families are alike, and no two estate plans are the same. Whether you are thinking of creating a will or establishing a trust, it is prudent to discuss your strategy with a trusted and experienced attorney. The Flanigan Law Group is dedicated to assisting our clients in avoiding probate, if possible, and drafting the necessary documents once you have decided how you want to go about protecting your estate.

Contact our law firm today to see how we can help you through this complicated process. We want to do whatever we can to shield you and your loved ones from unnecessary financial risks or avoidable legal issues.