A will is a legal document that describes how your assets should be distributed in the event of death. The actual distribution is controlled by a legal process called probate. A living trust avoids the probate process, because your property is owned by the trustee and subject to the terms of the trust. Your successor trustee assumes control of trust assets, arranges for payment of creditors and distributes them according to your instructions.
Given the emotional nature of litigation disputes and their financial impact, it is critical that you retain highly qualified legal counsel. The experienced estate litigation team at Velasco Law Group will focus on your legal needs so you can focus on your friends and family during this difficult time.
At Velasco Law Group, we handle complex will and trust contests for a broad range of clients. We have experience representing individual and professional trustees, personal representatives, and beneficiaries of trusts and estates. Our litigators also regularly represent the trust departments of banks and financial institutions. We strive to balance our clients’ goals against the challenges of litigation.
We represent trustees and trust beneficiaries in trust disputes. We work to resolve disputes as amicably and efficiently as possible, but we have the litigation experience to vigorously protect your rights in the courtroom when necessary.
An estate plan helps ensure that the wealth accumulated during life passes to the beneficiary of choice, in the manner desired, while minimizing taxes and increasing the efficiency of the asset transfer. If you do not determine what you want to happen to your wealth, the state will do it for you at the time of your death and the result may be vastly different from what you intend.
Estate planning allows you to designate the recipient(s) of your wealth upon your death. In addition, the selection of a guardian for minor children is chosen throughout the estate planning process. Oftentimes, estate planning can provide tax savings, tax breaks, or other tax deferments. Estate planning gives you greater control over your assets, who gets them, and in what manner, after your death.
The most common estate planning documents you will most likely need prepared are a: will, trust, durable powers of attorney, and advance health care directives.
A will is a written document disposing of a person’s estate at death.
A will is a legal document that describes how your assets should be distributed in the event of death. The actual distribution, however, is controlled by a legal process called probate, which is Latin for “prove the will.” Upon your death, the will becomes a public document, enters the probate process, and is no longer controlled by your family, but by the court and probate attorneys. Probate can be cumbersome, time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally traumatic during a family’s time of grief and vulnerability.
A living trust avoids probate because your property is owned by the trust, so technically there’s nothing for the probate courts to administer. Whomever you name as your “successor trustee” gains control of your assets and distributes them exactly according to your instructions.
Disputes involving estates can arise for a variety of reasons. Disinherited family members may wish to contest the validity of a will or trust due to lack of mental capacity, fraud, duress or undue influence; beneficiaries may object to the administration of a trust or estate as a result of a breach of fiduciary duty; or title to real property, bank accounts or investments may be inconsistent with the owner’s intentions. Disputes such as these are resolved in probate court, so estate litigation is often referred to as probate litigation. It is critical that clients have a team of estate litigators who have the dedication and the expertise to effectively resolve the most complex of trust and estate contests. Whatever the issues, VLG attorneys will ensure that our clients receive the highest quality legal services to achieve the best possible outcome.
The roles of a trustee, agent under a power of attorney, and executor involve a “fiduciary” relationship – administering assets in the interest of another person. A trustee is appointed to administer a trust created by a person (referred to as a grantor or settlor), upon the incapacity or death of the grantor. It should go without saying that during the incapacity of the grantor, the trustee must exercise scrupulous care to administer the trust estate for the benefit of the grantor. An agent acting under a power of attorney (sometimes known as “attorney-in-fact”) has the same responsibility to act in the best interest of the person who granted the power. Upon death of the grantor, the trustee administers the assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Similarly, an executor who is appointed by the probate court must administer the decedent’s estate for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
Contact the Velasco Law Group for all of your estate and probate needs, including: