Ventura County Attorney – Estate Planning

Estate planning is an important tool that allows individuals to determine how to distribute their assets at the time of their death. Estate planning not only allows you to decide how your assets will be distributed, it is also a valuable tool in planning for the guardianship of your children and the succession of your small business. Many types of estate planning options are available. Attorney Jeffrey Moscot can help you create a compressive plan that reflects your wishes and ensures that they are carried out.

Several common estate planning tools can be used for the distribution and/or division of your assets when you die or become incapacitated. These estate planning devices include:

Probate and Intestacy

After a person dies, his or her estate becomes subject to a legal process called probate. If a person dies without a will, that person is considered to have died intestate and the laws of intestacy will govern the distribution of the person's assets. In California, the laws of intestacy will automatically distribute assets from the estate to the surviving spouse and children of the decedent. If the decedent does not have a spouse or children, the assets will be distributed to the decedent's closest living relatives. Generally, most people prefer to avoid intestacy and direct their assets in a method and in amounts that reflect their wishes.

As we all know, situations, family and interpersonal relationships change throughout the stages of one's life. Early in your life, you may have one vision of how you would like your assets to be distributed. However, as you grow older, start a family, accumulate assets and potentially grow a business, you may prefer a different method or allocation for the distribution of your assets. Through estate planning, you can pass your assets to anyone you choose. A professionally drafted trust and/or will ensures that your estate will be distributed according to your wishes rather than California's intestacy laws. These documents also govern guardianship of your minor children as opposed to leaving that decision up to relatives with potentially competing interests and/or the state.

Trusts are an estate-planning tool for asset distribution that avoid the costly and time-consuming process of probate. A trust provides a mechanism to hold assets for the benefit of another person. Upon your death, a trustee manages the assets and distributes them based on the instructions provided in the trust document.

Many people fail to consider what might happen if they were to become incapacitated and are unable to make their own financial and/or health care decisions. A living will is a written document that states your end-of-life preferences thereby preventing your family members from having to make these difficult decisions on your behalf. You can also designate a durable power of attorney. This is a legal document that allows a person to sign legally binding documents and/or make financial decisions on your behalf while you are living.

A Ventura County Attorney for Your Estate Planning Needs

Jeff is an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you determine your estate planning goals and how best to achieve those goals. He can help you draft all of the documents that are necessary to achieve your final wishes. For help with your estate planning needs, please contact the Conejo Valley Law Group today.