Estate planning is often one of the most important things an adult does in his or her life. The plans that you make can protect your family after you have passed away and often those plans affect your family for years following your death. Even though estate planning is important and more commonly discussed than ever, a large percentage of adults do not create wills, leaving their potential heirs to fend for themselves. An estate lawyer can help you prepare for the future, but you must remember that there are things your lawyer will not tell you during the planning process that you truly need to know.

Trusts can Create Dependency

Trusts are meant to provide children and grandchildren financial security in the future.  Unfortunately, some people who grow up with trust funds that cover their daily expenses never become independent, productive adults. Once the funds in the trust are exhausted, a family member who has grown dependent on them may find him or herself in a difficult situation. Adding a work clause or incentive to a trust can encourage your heirs to work or do something that encourages them to remain active while providing them with financial security.

Selecting the Wrong Trustees or Executors is Dangerous

Parents and other adults often want their favorite children or closest friends to administer their estates. Though a person may be trustworthy and truly care about the family, he or she may still be unsuited for the responsibility of being the estate’s trustee or executor. Both positions are time-consuming, detailed oriented, and one mistake could cause serious financial repercussions. Prior to naming someone as a trustee or executor, ask yourself if you would hire the person to serve as your financial planner or business manager since both positions come with similar responsibilities.

Failing to Protect Heirs from Legal Loopholes Could Cost Them

All assets must be protected, including those you plan to leave to your heirs. When creating trusts, it is possible to include detailed language that specifics that your heirs are your children, grandchildren, or other specified individuals. Without careful planning, a skilled attorney may take advantage of legal loopholes to award funds to a person you never intended to benefit from your will. Not protecting and securing your assets could create a situation in which your future in-laws or stepchildren benefit from your assets instead of your designated beneficiaries.

Expect to Update Annually

Lawyers often present their estate planning assistance as a one-time appointment that covers all of your needs. In actuality, it is ideal to update or review your will each year to avoid forgetting or changing important details. Even though your meeting to review your estate plan may only entail a quick review of your previously prepared documents, if you have remarried, divorced, or acquired new assets, your estate might need to be updated. Failing to review your estate plan places your beneficiaries at risk.

Contact an Attorney You Can Trust

If you are creating an estate plan that will protect your family in the future, you need an estate planning attorney that you can trust. The team at MMZ Law realizes that estate planning is one of the most difficult processes to begin. We are prepared to help you make decisions that provide you and your family with the most protection possible. Contact (909) 256-6702 for your FREE consultation at our conveniently located Claremont, California office today so that we can discuss your legal needs.



341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711

MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of Elder Law – Medi-Cal Planning Asset Protection, Trust & Estate, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration, & Probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont but assists clients throughout Southern California.

This information is educational information only and not legal advice.