People with substantial estates want to ensure that their money is going to the people and causes they love and support after they die. Most people want assurance that their money isn’t going to disappear into the coffers of an overreaching government when they die, but unfortunately even a minor mistake in a person’s estate planning documents can send a case to probate, an expensive and often inefficient system that determines how a person’s assets will be distributed.
Most people know what they want to happen, but the next step is following through and making sure their estate plan reflects this. Unfortunately, the process can be somewhat complex, and not everyone speaks the legalese necessary to navigate state and federal estate, trusts and taxation laws. For that reason, anyone with a substantial estate who has specific ideas for how they want their assets distributed during or after their lifetime needs the help of an experienced California estates and trusts attorney. Michael Sawamura has been helping clients in Northern California achieve the results they desire for over 25 years, and has the experience and knowledge to help new clients accomplish the same.
Trust documents are not always effective, but unfortunately the client may not know until it is too late. After a person dies or becomes incapacitated, these mistakes, even simple ones, become the only legal direction the courts and trustees have to work with. Even if the intent of a defective document can be discerned, a mistake can open up the estate to massive tax consequences which could seriously undermine the intended transfer of wealth to loved ones and charitable causes.
To ensure that a trust document is effective and correct, it never hurts to get a second opinion. In his years of practice, Michael Sawamura has encountered many estate documents that are in need of repair, if not a total overhaul. Sometimes taking the small extra step of getting a second opinion is enough to save a client significant hardship, and money, in the long run.