It is important to retain the services of a highly qualified San Jose estate planning lawyer when you are an area resident making plans for the future because there are numerous estate planning choices.
A lot of people immediately think of the last will when they consider a vehicle of asset transfer, and though they may have heard of trusts, they may think that trusts are only appropriate for people of extraordinary means. In fact, utilizing a trust to transfer assets to your loved ones can be useful for people who consider themselves to be comfortable but by no means rich.
It is important to recognize the fact that your estate must pass through the process of probate if you do use a last will to serve as your primary asset transfer vehicle. There are significant costs associated with probate that can consume 5% to 10% of the overall value of your estate, and perhaps even more depending on the circumstances.
Probate can also take a good bit of time, and your loved ones do not receive anything until the estate has been closed by the probate court.
An alternative that allows for the transfer of assets outside of the process of probate would be the creation of a revocable living trust. You could actually serve as both the trustee and the beneficiary while you are alive, but you name successors who fill these roles after your passing. One can actually implement an incapacity component as well by naming a disability trustee who would administer the trust upon your incapacitation.
If you are interested in exploring the possibility of creating a revocable living trust, the first step is to get in touch with an experienced estate planning attorney who will carefully review the specifics of your case and make the appropriate recommendations.