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I'm wondering if my wife and I should make a will or a

I'm wondering if my...

I'm wondering if my wife and I should make a will or a living trust ?

Lawyer's Assistant: Estate laws vary by state. What state are you in?

California

Lawyer's Assistant: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?

None . I have no idea where to start

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Nope . Just that I don't have a clue

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/13/2018
Richard
Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 57,040
Experience: 29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
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Hi! My name is Richard & I will be helping you today! It will take me a few minutes to type a response to your question. Thanks for your patience!

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Good afternoon. The purpose of a living trust is to avoid probate. In some states that's really not necessary as probate is neither difficult or expensive; but, in others that require supervised administration of estates, a living trust is a good idea. California is one of the state where a living trust is a good idea. So, yes, I would suggest a living trust. But, it's important to get any assets that would otherwise be probate assets transferred to the living trust during your life so the trust owns the assets at death. To protect yourself in case you don't, it's a good idea to have simple "pour over" wills that provide that any assets that didn't get transferred to the trust before you die just "pour over" to the trust with the trust provisions controlling. Certain assets pass outside probate and thus are not governed by the will and thus do not require probate. These include the following: i) joint brokerage and bank accounts which vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; ii) real property held as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety, which also vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; and iii) assets with designated beneficiaries other than the estate such as life insurance and retirement accounts.

Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your question. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. If you have any follow up questions, please ask! If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service as Good or Excellent (i.e., 4 or 5 stars)(hopefully Excellent/5 stars!). Otherwise, I receive no credit for assisting you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
is there an attorney in the Sacramento area you recommend?

Under my terms of service with JustAnswer, I'm not allowed to make a specific recommendation, but I can give you direction. You would want to either contact the state bar association or your nearest law school for a referral. I prefer the latter because they take great pride in their graduates and will take a more personal interest in making sure your referral is a good one because it will be a reflection of the school. But, this is not a complicated process so you only need a 2-3 year lawyer rather than a more experienced lawyer with the higher billing rate that comes with that experience.

Richard
Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 57,040
Experience: 29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
Verified
Richard and 87 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thanks !!!

You're very welcome! It's been my honor and privilege to help you with this. If I can help you in any way in the future, I'll be happy to help. For easy access, my bookmark is: www.justanswer.com/law/expert-legalbeacon/ . Or, simply request “Richard only” in the first line of your question.

Thank you so much for the 5-star rating! I know rating takes an additional step and I truly appreciate you taking the extra time!

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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