trustsPicture a couple who has worked very hard and retired with dignity. They paid off their house and saved for retirement. They are living the American dream. At the end of their golden years, each passes peacefully. After they are gone, their children visit an attorney because they need the house transferred and the retirement benefits distributed. The attorney informs the children that in order to transfer the assets they will have to go through probate, which has large fees associated with it. Is this really how they would want their assets passed down to their children?

Legal fees are not the only negative aspect of subjecting your heirs to probate. Timing is critical, and during probate none of the assets can be distributed for at least one year. In Contra Costa County Courts, it is not uncommon for the process to take several years. In addition to these legal fees and timing restraints, if the parents were blessed with a large estate, the children will have to pay an estate tax of 40% on part of the estate. Imagine their frustration and disappointment when they find out this whole situation could have been avoided if their parents had put an appropriate trust in place.

Your estate plan is a critical part of your legacy. Our goal at the Law Offices of Matthew Hart is to keep your loved ones out of probate so they can avoid these costly, demanding legal situations. We scrutinize every aspect of the law and consider your unique situation to expertly craft a personalized trust that will avoid probate and reduce estate tax liabilities. No matter the size of your estate, we can ensure that your assets are handled according to your wishes. For those who already have a trust or estate planning documents in place, we can review your documents to make sure they are maximizing tax exemptions and avoiding probate. It is likely that laws, or your situation, have changed since you created your documents. Whether you have implemented an estate plan or not, our comprehensive review of your estate planning strategy will bring you peace of mind and leave a lasting legacy your loved ones will be grateful for.