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Palm Springs Estate Planning Documents Attorney

Heritage Legal, PC is dedicated to helping clients in California plan effectively for the future. We understand how important it is to create essential estate planning documents, and we do so with the goals of our clients in mind. Founding attorney Christopher Heritage has extensive experience in the area of Wills, Trusts and Estates. If you need assistance in creating or updating an estate plan, we can help. Contact our Palm Springs estate planning law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.

Essential Estate Planning Documents in California

Understanding the different types of California estate planning documents will help you create a comprehensive estate plan.

Writing a Will

A Last Will and Testament is the most basic estate planning document, which establishes how a person’s property and assets will be managed and distributed after his or her death. Why should you make a Will in California? Without a Will, the probate court will divide up your property according to the state’s intestacy laws. If you do not want the state of California to decide how to distribute your property after your death, you will need to create a Will.

You can use your Will to do all of the following:

  • Leave property to people or organizations of your choice
  • Appoint a trusted person to manage any of your property left to your minor children
  • Appoint a guardian to care for your minor children
  • Appoint an executor to carry out the terms of your Will
  • California will only recognize Wills that meet the specified legal requirements. If you need assistance preparing a Will, Heritage Legal, PC can help.

    Writing A Living Trust in Palm Springs

    A trust is a written legal agreement as to how to distribute your property to your chosen beneficiaries. There are many different types of trusts, each with their unique benefits. However, one of the most popular types of trusts is the Revocable Living Trust. A Revocable Living Trust is one that you create during your lifetime. When creating a trust, you are usually your own Trustee, and you appoint trustees who will hold the legal title of the property on behalf of the beneficiary after you pass. During your lifetime, you maintain full control over all of the property that is held in the trust.

    In a Revocable Living Trust, the Grantor of the trust can take back ownership of property in the trust by transferring it out of the trust. Revocable Living Trusts come with many benefits, including avoiding probate, court involvement at incapacity, asset management, and reducing tax liability. Many trusts are revocable, meaning that the Grantor of the trust can cancel the trust. Revocable Living Trusts also allow Grantors to move property in and out of a trust.

    Estate planners can also create Irrevocable Trusts which cannot be modified or revoked after they are signed. Irrevocable Trusts can help achieve specific goals, like reducing taxes, but such trusts require giving up control and ownership of the property held by the trust. At Heritage Legal, we can help you establish a trust tailored to your estate planning objectives.

    Writing A General Durable Power of Attorney in California

    A General Durable Power of Attorney is another legal document that gives someone else, your Attorney-in-Fact, the authority to make decisions about your financial transactions and your property, that is not a part of your Revocable Living Trust. A General Durable Power of Attorney can be effective immediately or becomes effective or becomes useful when you become incapacitated. You have control over when your Attorney-in-Fact will begin to have the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf.

    If your General Durable Power of Attorney is a “springing” power of attorney, then it become effective when a doctor declares that you are incapacitated and unable to make financial decisions for yourself. At that time, your Attorney-in-Fact will have the ability to make decisions for you. Taking the time to write a General Durable Power of Attorney will help you and your family immensely. If you become incapacitated, your Attorney-in-Fact will be able to pay your mortgage and any other bills. He or she will also have access to financial assets outside of your trust, such as IRA’s and 401(k’s). If you have a Will, your Attorney-in-Fact will be able to access those assets as well, in addition to real property and other financial accounts.

    Writing An Advance Health Care Directive in Palm Springs

    An Advance Health Care Directive allows California residents to appoint someone to act as their representative for health care when they become incapacitated. An Advance Health Care Directive gives another person the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf when you become incapacitated. A medical professional must declare you incapacitated before your representative can begin making decisions on your behalf. An Advance Health Care Directive also allows you to write down specific instructions that your representative must follow. For example, you can state whether or not you'd like to receive life-sustaining treatment in challenging medical situations.

    Our Palm Springs Estate Planning Lawyers Can Help

    If you're ready to create a thorough estate plan, or you'd like a skilled lawyer to review your estate plan, we can help. At Heritage Legal, PC, we take pride in offering our clients responsive and highly qualified legal advice. After sitting down and learning your goals, we can draft all of the necessary estate planning documents. Contact our Palm Springs law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.


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