Fremont wills and trusts attorney millennium estate planningAbout half of all Americans do have a will, trust, or other estate planning documents completed. Unfortunately, that means another half do not have such documents in place. For these individuals, end-of-life decisions may come at the hospital, while they and their families are stressed and concerned. Sadly, this last-minute estate planning is often done with the aid of a nurse or other hospital professional who may lack the time or the knowledge to answer questions about the consequences of specific decisions. Enter the online chat bot, Emily.

Designed to help families and grantors through their end-of-life decisions, Emily is aimed at helping individuals in the 25- to 45-year-old age group. She encourages them to think about estate planning early. If a family is faced with difficult decisions at the last minute, she can also give them direction and insight regarding the different estate planning decisions that need to be made. Could she be the answer to improving the estate planning statistics in America? Perhaps, but the following explains why an experienced Fremont wills and trusts attorney may still be needed.

What Emily Can Do for Your Family

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Fremont wills and trusts attorneyMany reasons and situations require an update to your estate plan. Divorce just so happens to be one of the more common and potentially catastrophic situations. Unfortunately, it is also easy to overlook or forget. There are many loose ends to tie up once the divorce process is complete, and with more to manage, estate planning can easily slip through the cracks. Unfortunately, if something does happen to you before you have made changes to your estate plan, assets may not go to the people and places you had hoped. Do not let this happen to you. Learn what and when you should update in an estate plan after divorce.

Changing Your Beneficiaries

If you have a 401K, IRA, or another retirement plan, the beneficiary listed on your policy should be checked upon completion of the divorce. Of course, you may have to split some of your savings, but the remaining amount should go to you. If you do not want the remainder to go to your spouse upon your passing, and they are listed as the current beneficiary, it is important that you change this in your policy. Alternatively, if you wish your spouse to be listed as a trust for your children, ensure the policy and your other estate planning documents reflect this desire.

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Fremont wills and trusts lawyerEstate planning can be a complex matter, with state and federal laws to consider, but the initial steps do not have to be complicated. In fact, almost anyone can complete an effective estate plan with the right mindset and good advice. Learn more about these initial steps, and where you can find help, with the following information on effective estate planning in Fremont, California.

Know What You Own

From your beloved baseball card collection to real estate and the remainder of your retirement plan, it is crucial that you know what you own before you start the estate planning process. Start by gathering detailed documents on financial accounts (i.e. bank accounts, savings bonds, retirement accounts, etc.), real estate, vehicles, and other large or monetary items. Then make a list of family heirlooms and assets that may hold value. If necessary, have items appraised so that you know how much you are leaving to each of your heirs.

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Fremont wills and trusts attorneyIn most cases, the assignment of assets to one heir is straightforward; you only need to determine a creative way to decrease the tax load. In contrast, assigning assets to multiple beneficiaries is generally complex. Not only do you have to decide how to increase the overall amount each person receives after their tax costs, but you must also discern whether to distribute the assets fairly or equally. What is the difference between these two options, and which one is most appropriate for your estate plan needs? Read on to find out.

Fair or Equal – What is the Difference?

While some people use the terms fair and equal interchangeably, the two terms are quite different from one another. To split things equally means to give everyone the same amount, but fair distribution is not always equal. Sometimes, it may appear that one heir has “more,” but the truth is that they have more for a very particular reason.

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Fremont estate planning lawyerEstate plans typically involve human heirs, such as children and grandchildren, but this is not always the case. Some individuals have non-human dependents to consider. Does that mean everyone should include their pet in an estate plan? Not necessarily, yet it might be worth considering if there is even the slightest possibility that your companion may outlive you. The following explains why this provision might be necessary, and how you can take the first step toward implementing it in your estate plan.

Why Plan for Your Pets?

When the owner of an animal dies or becomes incapacitated, the pet often ends up at a shelter. It happens so frequently, in fact, that some 100,000 to 500,000 pets wind up in shelters because of an owner’s death or incapacitation. How do these once companions end up in shelters?

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Willett Law Firm

39300 Civic Center Drive, Suite 310
Fremont, CA 94538

Phone: 510-791-2244

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