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Estate Planning and Administration

Santa Clarita Estate Planning Lawyers Helping You Prepare for the Future

"Be prepared." That is the motto of the Boy Scouts of America. It is also the watchword for estate planning. Planning ahead is absolutely crucial. If you have not made an estate plan, all of your assets – including your home, business, bank accounts, investments, vehicles, heirlooms, and collectibles – are at risk.

At Young & Williams LLP, we offer estate planning and estate administration services.

In a sense, everyone who lives in California already has an estate plan: the California Probate Code. Its provisions are fairly simple in their statement, but often complicated in their execution. Moreover, an estate that passes though probate is always delayed and subject to significant expenses for attorney's fees and court costs that would not diminish a non-probate estate. Large estates also face a steep federal estate tax that, with careful planning, can often be avoided or minimized.

Forced conservatorship is another possible downfall of not having an adequate estate plan in place. When a person becomes incapacitated but has not yet passed away, state law provides for management of the affairs of the incapacitated person by a conservator. Conservatorship is one of the few legal procedures that are even more cumbersome and expensive than probate, as the Court routinely appoints an independent attorney to represent the proposed conservatee, at estate expense.

Finally, in the absence of an estate plan, minor children can be put under the guardianship of persons who are not the first choice of the deceased or incapacitated parents.

Using Wills and Trusts to Your Advantage

The unfortunate reality is that death (or even incapacity) without an estate plan can be even more tragic, take much more time, and cost much more money to resolve when the appropriate preparations have not been made. The basic traditional estate planning device is a Will. Even more sophisticated devices (such as Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts) should be backed up with a Will.

At Young & Williams LLP, we occasionally draft stand-alone Wills, when the estate is small enough and simple enough so that probate will be avoided in any event. However, for all but the smallest estates, a Trust is appropriate. At Young & Williams LLP, our Santa Clarita estate planning lawyers have prepared Trusts for young couples who are planning a family, for retired folks in their 90s, and for people at just about every stage of life in between. "Being prepared" can be done at any point, until death or incapacity prevents planning from being possible.

Assisting with Estate Administration

Upon the death of a loved one, administration of the Trust (or probate of the Will or intestate estate) requires careful attention. Our Santa Clarita estate planning attorneys can help guide you through the Trust administration or probate process, whether you are a trustee, executor, administrator, or beneficiary.

Contact Young & Williams LLP about how to proceed at your earliest opportunity.