What Is The Difference Between A Living Trust And A Will?

Thinking about creating either a living trust or a will may be a bit macabre to some people since it reminds them of their own mortality.  However, it is something that should be considered by all individuals who want to ensure that his or her property and assets are distributed in a manner they see fit after he or she passes away.

What is the right option for you?

Many people are using the online do-it-yourself forms for estate planning. We highly recommend against this, as there are many ways to go wrong if you are not experienced. When you work with the Law Office of John Iaccarino, we use our experience and legal knowledge to help make sure you get all the benefits possible from your estate plan:

  • Optimize tax outcomes: We can make sure you are minimizing tax consequences and maximizing the benefits you can receive.
  • Avoid probate: You want your wills and trusts to be legally effective so that your beneficiaries and executors are not disputing over your intentions. After handling probate law and litigation for many years, we know that this is something you want to avoid.
  • Expedite administration: When your intentions are made clear in your will, there is no chance for dispute. Your wealth is distributed the way you desire and the entire process is as simple as possible. A well-drafted will is a great gift for your family because it helps them know exactly how to hand on your wealth and minimize inter-family disputes.

In addition to the common will and testament, there are many types of trusts and other estate planning documents we can use to help you reach these benefits:

If you are located in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like to schedule an appointment, please feel free to contact The Law Office of John Iaccarino.

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Figure out your legal risk

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With the increase of information readily available on the internet and the rise of DIY legal tools, many individuals fall prey to situations where they end up handling their legal matters themselves which result in unfavorable situations for them in the end.

To determine what your legal risk may be, click on the image above to take the free risk assessment through ARAG.

The Law Office of John Iaccarino accepts clients who are members of ARAG.

Estate Planning Basics

Thinking about planning on how your assets will be distributed after you pass is never an easy thing to think about.

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However, after working hard after so many years, no one wants another party or the state to determine how his or her assets are distributed.  According to a recent survey by RocketLawyer.com, over 50% of Americans die without a will.  There may be many reasons for avoiding writing a will such as procrastination, belief they do not need a formal will and that their assets will be handled properly without a written document and simple procrastination.

The Law Office of John Iaccarino has put together a list of a few documents that are essential to ensuring control over your wealth distribution and medical decision-making as you approach your later years:

  • Will — This is the foundational estate planning document which lays out the wealth distribution and names an executor of your estate.
  • Trust — A trust is a more specific distribution document, usually working in tandem with the will, which can maximize tax benefits and lay out the terms for distribution. We are experienced with all forms of trusts, including AB Trusts, QTIP Trusts, Credit Shelter Trusts and pour-over trusts.
  • Power of attorney — The power of attorney is a document that appoints an agent, someone you trust, to be in charge of your finances if you lose the capacity to handle these affairs yourself. A power of attorney can be set to begin immediately or it can be “springing,” which means it only takes effect at the point in which you are legally declared unable to handle your own financial affairs.
  • Advanced healthcare directive — A health care directive provides specific instructions for how your health care providers should proceed in the event that you are unable to communicate your medical wishes. It also appoints an agent to handle any unforeseen medical decisions that need to be made on your behalf when you can no longer make or communicate these decisions yourself.