Turn to Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, PC for Experienced Legal Guidance
Nearly everyone can benefit from estate planning. Developing a strong estate plan can do more than protect your assets and property. It can also help ensure that you are prepared for your retirement, that your health care wishes are known should you become incapacitated, and that your family is taken care of. Our West Los Angeles estate planning and probate lawyer has over 15 years of experience and is prepared to help you begin estate planning today.
We offer a comprehensive range of estate planning services, including:
- Advanced health care directives
- Business entity formation
- Cohabitation agreements
- Durable power of attorney for financial management
- Irrevocable and revocable trusts
- Marital agreements, including pre- and postnuptial agreements
- Probate services
- Trust administration
- Wills, including pour-over wills
Understanding client goals and family dynamics is key to developing an effective estate plan. Therefore, we take always take the time to get to know our clients. At the Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, PC, we work hard to provide our clients with personalized estate planning services responsive to their needs.
Work with a Skilled Probate Lawyer
The probate process is notoriously long, complicated, and expensive. Probate is handled by the county in which the deceased person lived or held property. Suppose the deceased individual owned property in multiple counties or states. In that case, probate becomes even more complicated, and their estate must go through the probate process in each location where property is owned. Additionally, when an estate goes through the probate process, it becomes part of the public record, and you lose a good deal of your privacy.
Costs associated with probate include:
- Statutory probate fees
- Court costs and filing fees
- Bond costs
- Publication costs
- Probate referee costs
- Creditor's claims
- MediCal recovery
- Expenses incurred due to delays
In LA County, it is typical for probate to take well over a year to be resolved. Probate fees are determined by the probate code and are generally a percentage of the estate's gross value. Consequently, the larger your estate, the higher the cost of probate. This can be very frustrating for families.
Most estates will be subject to probate, even if there is a will in place. If someone dies without a will in place (intestate), the probate courts will oversee the division and distribution of their estate. This includes how creditors will be paid and who will inherit what. At the very least, you should establish a legally valid will. When drafting a will, you can name an executor and identify your chosen beneficiaries. You can also name guardians for minor children or dependent adults.
The Benefits of Trusts
The only way to avoid probate is to establish a living trust. These trusts are established while you are still alive, and assets and property are held in trust for the beneficiaries. By comparison, the trustee fees associated with trust administration are much lower than probate costs. Trusts also have the potential to protect your assets from estate and inheritance taxes.
Types of trusts include:
- Married couple probate-avoidance trusts (“A” trust)
- Single person probate-avoidance trusts
- Qualified domestic trusts
- Qualified personal residence trusts
- Second marriage trusts (“A-B” trust)
- Irrevocable life insurance trusts
- Charitable trusts
- Special needs trusts
- Revocable trusts
When establishing a trust, you must name a trustee. The trustee must manage the trust funds for the beneficiaries. Being a trust administrator is a significant responsibility, and the mismanagement of trust funds is taken very seriously. If a trustee fails to fulfill their duties, the trust beneficiaries may file a petition with the court, and the trustee may be subject to legal penalties. Attorney Jonsson offers professional trust administration services. If you have questions about trust administration or need help with a trustee issue, call our law firm. We are prepared to help.
As a Beneficiary, You Have Rights
It is hard enough losing a loved one, but when you have issues dealing with the trustee who was supposed to manage your loved one's estate, it can be incredibly overwhelming. Our West Los Angeles estate planning and probate lawyer is well-versed in all aspects of estate law and trust administration. We have helped beneficiaries deal with trustee and will executor problems for years. As a firm, we are committed to providing clients with compassionate legal counsel that puts their needs first. When you need professional help holding a trustee or executor accountable in court, the Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, PC is just a phone call away.