Have you been thinking of having an estate plan prepared? No matter what stage you are at in your life, you—and your loved ones—could benefit from a carefully prepared estate plan. Perhaps you have young children and want to ensure they would be taken care of. You may have a business that you would want to continue if you were incapacitated. Whether you are just starting out in life, are in your middle years, or in your golden years, an estate plan is a necessity. San Bruno estate planning attorney Mark Gullotta has the experience and financial tools necessary to guide them through the estate planning process. The Law Office of Mark Gullotta can help you determine the best way to plan for the future.
Estate Planning in San Bruno, CA
Although an estate plan can include a will, there is much more involved in an estate plan than just a will. An estate plan deals with the distribution of assets and can also help you and your heirs pay less in taxes, fees, and court costs. Most adults with any assets should execute a will, at a minimum. The scope of your estate plan will take into consideration whether you have young children, whether you own a business, the level of your assets, and many other issues as well.
Not only will you plan for those you would leave behind, you will also plan for an unexpected incapacitation. While it can be uncomfortable to consider your own mortality, the alternative could mean leaving your family members in chaos. San Bruno estate planning attorney Mark Gullotta can help you determine which aspects of an estate plan are right for you, your loved ones, and your stage in life.
How a San Bruno Estate Planning Attorney Can Help with Wills and Trusts
Both Wills and Trusts are estate planning tools to help ensure your assets are protected—and are left to those you choose. A Will expresses your wishes, both in naming a guardian for your minor children, and in bequeathing personal possessions, property, and cash to loved ones or to charities. A Will becomes active only after your death, while a Trust is active the day it’s created.
An Irrevocable Trust cannot be altered after its creation but may be more favorable for tax purposes. A Revocable Living Trust can be changed at any time and is not required to go through probate. A Will usually goes through probate, although there are exceptions in California for smaller estates. If you are unsure whether you need a Will, a Trust, or both, San Bruno estate planning attorney Mark Gullotta can help you make these very important decisions.
Probate Administration in San Bruno, CA
When the person who made the Will (testator) dies, the person named as personal representative or executor must submit the Will along with a Petition for Probate. These documents must be submitted to the probate court in the county where the decedent lived. The San Bruno, CA probate court will determine whether the Will is valid. The court will then issue a letter of administration that formally appoints and empowers the personal representative.
The personal representative then has the authority to act on behalf of the estate and its heirs. The personal representative has the duty and authority to safeguard estate property. The personal representative may open a bank account in the estate’s name to pay estate taxes, bills, and creditor claims, and to hold cash assets. If you have been named as personal representative, or you are naming one in your Will, you could benefit from speaking to Mark Gullotta, a San Bruno estate planning attorney.
Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples
If you are a committed unmarried couple in the state of California, you may need to speak to a knowledgeable San Bruno estate planning attorney. There are certain issues you or your partner could face upon the death or incapacitation of the other. A state marriage “contract” imposes certain rights and obligations on a husband and wife. These rights and obligations may need to be memorialized in a legal contract for unmarried couples.
There are a number of different names this type of contract could go under, including a “living-together agreement,” or a “prenuptial agreement.” These contracts are enforceable, so long as there is full disclosure between the partners. It is also a good idea for partners to write letters to other family members stating their wishes for their estate and their partner. These agreements or contracts can go a long way in protecting both partners in the event of death or incapacitation. Estate planning attorney Mark Gullotta can answer all your questions and ensure your contract is legal.
San Bruno, CA Advance Directives, Powers of Attorney, and Guardianship Issues
An Advance Directive is another important piece of your total estate plan. An Advance Directive allows you to name a person to make decisions on your behalf if you were to become incapacitated. It also allows you to state which lifesaving measures you want taken on your behalf—and which you do not.
A Power of Attorney document has much the same function, but there are many different types of POAs for different situations. A Durable POA is much like an Advance Directive. A financial POA allows another person to make financial decisions on your behalf. You may also want to discuss a guardianship with your San Bruno estate planning attorney to ensure your minor children are properly taken care of following your death or incapacitation.
San Bruno Estate Planning Attorney Mark Gullotta Can Help
Attorney Mark Gullotta can provide a simplified estate planning process that will minimize any unpleasant surprises in the future, while protecting those you love. Mark has the knowledge and skills necessary to comprehensively evaluate all your estate planning needs. Contact Mark Gullotta today to schedule a consultation.