What’s the difference between a will and a trust?

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.

How can an estate litigator help me?

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.

Why is the Velasco Law Group the best firm to represent me?

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.

Why do I need an estate plan?

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.

How can an estate plan help me?

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.

What are the most common estate planning documents I need prepared?

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.

What is a will?

A will is a written document disposing of a person’s estate at death.

What’s the difference between having a will and a living trust?

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.

What is estate litigation?

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.

What is a fiduciary?

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.

Key Practice Areas

Contact the Velasco Law Group for all of your estate and probate needs, including:

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.