Estate Planning Attorneys in Napa, California


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Napa Estate Planning Attorneys Giving You Peace of Mind

Life can be full of uncertainties, but two things are certain: death and taxes. How you plan for these eventualities will play an important role in how your family can move forward when you pass away.

But end-of-life planning is only one aspect of an estate plan. What if you were to suddenly become disabled? How could you be sure that your wishes would be known and your finances managed by someone you trust? Proper Napa estate planning keeps you in control of how your affairs are managed when life’s certainties and uncertainties strike. 

It can also spare your loved ones from having to make difficult decisions at emotional times and deal with the expense, frustration, and delays associated with Napa Valley courts. If shielding your loved ones from these challenges appeals to you, contact Celaya Law for estate planning help.

How Can You Plan for Incapacity?

Too many people believe if they were to become incapacitated due to illness, their spouses or adult children could automatically take over their financial affairs. The truth is if this were to happen without you previously designating someone you trust to handle your finances, the courts would appoint someone for you.

While many people use a will to designate a power of attorney, this document isn’t accessible until their death and it’s not always enough to put someone in charge of their financial affairs. If you don’t make your wishes clear in the right legal documents and you become incapacitated, a family member must petition the court to have you declared legally incompetent. This can be emotionally draining and costly. 

If the court approves the person you would have chosen, they must provide an annual accounting to the Napa Valley court to defend how they have spent every penny of your money. This is why it’s helpful to know that if you want your wishes followed, you must state them in the proper legal documents within your estate plan. This gives your designated representative the legal authority to manage your bank accounts, retirement funds, real estate, and more. 

Another issue to consider is who should make decisions about your medical treatment if you become incapable of making them yourself. By creating a durable power of attorney for health care and a living will, you can specify your wishes and designate someone you trust to make your medical decisions. Experienced estate planning attorneys in Napa, CA can guide you through these steps, so call our law firm to get started.

How Can You Avoid Probate?

Wills are popular estate planning documents, but their drawback is that any assets named in them must pass through probate before your heirs take possession of them. Unfortunately, probate is expensive, time-consuming, and public.

This means your spouse or children may have to wait months before getting access to money to pay for living expenses while your Napa estate is settled. If you want your family to skip probate, you can set up a living trust specifying which assets should go to which beneficiaries. The advantage of a trust is that it does not have to go through probate like a will does, so your assets can be passed on to your loved ones in a quick, inexpensive, and private manner. 

This is why so many people include trusts in their estate plans. If you’re interested in learning about them, call our Napa, CA law office to speak to a lawyer about trust administration and more during an initial consultation. 

How Can You Ensure Your Minor Children Are Provided for?

Estate planning can address issues in how your children will be cared for if you and your spouse were to both pass away. Without a plan, important decisions about finances and raising your children would be decided by strangers in the courts. This is why it’s critical to appoint an appropriate guardian to raise your children when you and the other parent are no longer here to do it. 

The guardian must be named in your estate planning documents and approved by the court before you pass away. Otherwise, your children may end up in the care of a court-appointed guardian. In fact, it’s recommended that you choose an alternate guardian in case your selected guardian cannot care for your children after all. 

Another way to protect your children is to place your assets in a trust. A trust lets you specify when you want the assets distributed to your children, such as when they reach a certain age or education level. Our Napa estate planning lawyers have years of experience helping people ensure their families are provided for no matter what happens, so contact us for guidance setting up trusts and more.

Can Estate Planning Attorneys in Napa, California Help You Strategize for Taxes?

As we mentioned, taxes are among the only certainties in life, so you can expect the IRS to start reviewing your estate when you pass away to determine what taxes you owe. But experienced Napa, CA lawyers will look for ways to eliminate or reduce death taxes so your survivors get more of your estate. 

At our Napa Valley law firm, we’re keenly aware that no one wants a large portion of their money to disappear due to estate or capital gains taxes. We also know it can be uncomfortable to think about what will happen once you are gone or incapable of handling your affairs. This is why we’ll work hard to create the right plan to help your family avoid probate, delays, and estate taxes upon your death. If you want peace of mind knowing your family will be taken care of when you’re no longer here, call our legal team at 707-754-0977 to schedule a consultation.

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