Will | Estate Plan Pros

A Tale of Caution Involving a Holographic Will

My dad always said that wisdom is learning from other people’s mistakes – it’s cheaper than learning from your own mistakes.  Here is a classic example to learn from: the estate of Estelle Elsa Manwell, from El Dorado County.  Ms. Manwell was well to do – according to court documents she owned real estate in Contra Costa and El Dorado County worth $1,238,848. Ms. Manwell must have known...

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Three Ways to Pass Your Real Property to Your Children

Three Ways to Pass Your Real Property to Your Children

Besides retirement accounts, real property typically accounts for the largest portion of most estates.  The question is what is the best way to transfer your home and other real estate assets to your children.  There are three primary ways you can transfer real estate: by deed, by a will, or by a trust.  Transfer by a DeedWhen you put your children’s name on title to your assets...

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Modest estate going through probate

A Tale of Two Estates: A Journey through Probate

John, a widower, owns his modest home with a small mortgage.  When he passes away, his three children find buried in all his papers a will instructing them to divide everything equally.  The oldest child, Bill, heads down to the realtors office to list the property.  And so the journey begins…At the realtor’s office, Bill discovers that with a will, he’ll have to open a probate...

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Five Key Differences Between a Will vs a Trust

One of the first questions client’s often ask me is, what is the difference between a will and a trust, and why should I want one or the other?  There are five key things a will can’t do – avoid the expense of probate, immediately transfer your assets to your heirs, protect you and your heirs privacy, avoid estate taxes, and provide incapacity protection.  But a complete estate plan...

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Is a “simple will” going to cost your children thousands of dollars?

It is a common mistake to think that a will avoids probate.  Why is probate so bad?  Three words: time, money, and publicity.  And, if you have young children, you’ve probably left them unprepared and unprotected as well. Probate is Expensive Even a relatively small estate can face thousands in court costs, attorney fees and other fees.  An estate with a modest home valued at $300,000 can...

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The Shocking Truth About the Simple Will

The scene opens in an opulent room.  A strange collection of people shift nervously in their seats, waiting expectantly.  At last, a short man in a suit and spectacles steps in, and with great flourish, reveals The Last Will and Testament.  Shock and horror, triumph and exultation ensue. When most people begin to think about estate planning, that picture is in the back of their minds, and they...

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What Is an Estate Plan?

Having a tank doesn’t mean you have a battle plan.  Having a trust doesn’t mean you have an estate plan.  A trust is only one of the tools we use in creating a comprehensive estate plan. What an Estate Plan Does: An estate plan is more than its individual components, the pieces work together to accomplish four purposes. It Avoids Probate Probate is a time consuming and expensive...

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What Is The Difference BetweenA Will And A Trust?

Most people are familiar with the idea of a will, but there is a lot of confusion about living trusts.  Part of that confusion is because there are many different types of trusts.  Despite that confusion, trusts are increasing in popularity.  Most people find that living trusts are a superior solution in reducing costs and simplifying the process of administrating an estate. How a Will and Trust...

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Is a DIY Will Like DIY Dentistry?

There is a common misperception misconception that if you have a will, you’re covered.  And the marketplace feeds this notion promising cheap and easy documents you can make yourself.  After all, lawyers are expensive, and who doesn’t like saving money?  When I see these advertisements for DIY estate planning documents, the image I see in my head is poor Tom Hanks’ character in Castaway trying to...

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Seven Simple Things Everyone Should Know About Living Trusts

1. They’re Not Just for the Rich Trusts are very handy for avoiding probate, a time consuming and expensive process.  In contrast, wills do not avoid probate.  An estate with a gross value of $150,000 or more has to go through probate in California (other states have different rules).  That means pretty much any California homeowner’s estate will have to go through probate unless...

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