While most people in Orange County desire to protect their loved ones and their estate in the event of death or incapacity, there is much confusion about which type, or how much protection is needed.  After all, everyone’s situation is just a bit different, which means that what works for one estate plan doesn’t necessarily work for another.  By working with a wills and trusts attorney, the appropriate methods of protecting and sharing your estate become clear.

Much of this has to do with the fact that the wills and trusts attorney knows precisely which questions to ask. You may find that you prefer a simple will, although, most people will benefit from creating a trust in order to avoid probate, lessen the tax burden, and have more say in what becomes of money and other assets.

Some of the trusts you and your Orange County lawyer will consider:

Credit Shelter Trusts – In this case, you use a will to bequeath money to the trust in amount up to the estate tax exemption, which allows you to leave the rest of the estate to your spouse without paying taxes.

Dynasty Trusts – This type of trust is used to give money, tax-free, to those two or more generations below you (such as your grandchildren).  This is also referred to as a generation-skipping trust.

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts – To reap the benefits of this kind of trust, you surrender ownership to your life insurance policy (meaning you cannot make any future changes to it) and remove it from your taxable estate.  The money from the policy can be used after your death to pay estate costs or to go to beneficiaries tax-free.

Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trusts – A revocable trust gives you control over the assets during your lifetime, and you are able to change the terms or revoke them altogether.  An irrevocable trust offers some nice tax protection, but it is more rigid and places the assets outside of your control.

These are simply some of the most common types of trusts to consider with your lawyer in Orange County, but there are certainly many others that may be pertinent to you.  Do you have specific items you want bequeathed?  Is there an organization you wish to support with a gift?  Do you intend to provide for special needs children in your estate plan?  A wills and trusts lawyer in Orange county will help you sort through your wants and needs in order to determine how to meet your estate planning goals.