Start Drafting an Estate Plan Today
Estate planning can be surprisingly emotional for many people. Estate issues often arise at significant life moments, such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. At the Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, PC, we understand estate planning's sensitive nature, and we work hard to provide our clients with compassionate yet effective legal solutions.
When drafting an estate plan, we get to know our clients and their family dynamics. This empowers us to develop legal documents that are responsive to our clients' needs. We also know that identifying beneficiaries, executors, and trustees can be a fraught process, so we extend our services and support at every step of the way. We value client privacy, and all consultations are confidential.
Our Comprehensive Estate Planning Services
There is no single answer to estate planning. Every family is different, and every estate will have unique needs. Most people will incorporate an assortment of legal documents into their estate plan. Wills and trusts are a good place to start. Everyone should at least have a legally valid will on record. Without a will, when your estate goes through probate, the courts will have total control over how your property is divided and distributed.
Wills are important as they are a key document in making your wishes known to the courts. When establishing a will, you can name an executor, beneficiaries, and guardians for minor children. Wills are flexible documents in that they can be revoked or modified at any time. However, they do not offer the same protections and wealth preservation benefits as trusts do.
Other important estate planning tools include:
- Advance health care directives
- Business entity formation
- Charitable trusts
- Cohabitation agreements
- Durable powers of attorney for asset management
- HIPAA release documents
- Insurance trusts
- Marital agreements, including pre- and postnuptial agreements
- Pour-over wills
- Special needs trusts
We also offer professional trust administration services to residents in Westwood. When establishing a living trust, you must appoint a trustee. The trustee is responsible for managing the trust funds. Trust administration comes with significant responsibilities, and failure to fulfill trustee duties may result in legal penalties. If you are struggling with a trust administration problem or need experienced guidance, call the Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, PC.
Help with the Probate Process
Probate is the legal process by which a deceased person's assets are settled, or when their last will is legally "proved." In Los Angeles County, this process is long and expensive. It is not uncommon for it to take a year and a half to run its course. Probate is costly in large part because the probate fees are statutory and mandated by the probate code. Typically, probate fees are a percentage of the estate's gross value, meaning that the larger the estate, the more costly probate is.
The probate process includes:
- Filing a probate petition
- Appointing an estate representative or executor
- Notifying creditors and beneficiaries
- Posting a probate bond
- Attending probate hearings
- Inventorying the estate
- Working with a probate referee to appraise the estate
- Collecting tax records and other pertinent documents
- Paying estate debts
- Distributing assets to inheritors
- Filing a final account with the court
This is only a small look at the probate process. To learn more or get professional help with the probate process, call our probate lawyer. We are standing by to answer your questions.
Avoid Estate Issues by Developing an Estate Plan
We know that it can be difficult to think about the future. However, spending a little time now making an estate plan may save you and your beneficiaries a lot of money. At the Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, PC, our goal is to help our clients feel more confident about their futures. Estate planning can be complicated, and many people feel overwhelmed by the process. Our Westwood estate planning and probate attorney has over 15 years of experience and is highly qualified. When you need thoughtful guidance, we are just a phone call away.