Can you draw up our wills and trusts?

Meyers Wealth Management does not provide legal services.  We are not attorneys, nor do we directly employ any attorneys.  As such, we do not give legal advice, we do not draw up wills or trusts or powers-of-attorney or other legal documents.  Our clients are responsible for consulting with their attorneys for these things.

We are happy to advise our clients in the financial aspects of estate planning and very strongly recommend to all of our clients that they have up-to-date wills and other legal documents related to estate planning, when appropriate, such as trusts and powers-of-attorney.

Note that not everyone needs trusts!  Sometimes they are very helpful, but sometimes they really don't do all that much.  Everyone's individual situation is different.  Many assets will get transferred to beneficiaries automatically upon death outside of the action of a will, a trust, or going through probate.

As part of the financial planning process, we'll review our clients wills, trusts, the ownership of various assets (ie. how accounts are titled), and especially the beneficiary designations which are attached to various accounts (IRAs, insurance policies, 401(k)s, etc).  We are happy to consult with our clients attorneys in the process.

Whether or not you walk through all the details of the management of asset transfers with an estate planner or attorney, you probably still need a will.  And if you have kids, there's no "probably" about it.  You need a will, at a minimum, to designate who will take care of your kids if something happens to you.

The State Bar of California provides a very simple fill-in-the-blanks will form, in accordance with California law.  It won't handle complex estate plans, nor does it facilitate managing estate taxes or setting up trusts.  But it will let you designate who gets some of your stuff, who gets your house, and most importantly, who gets your kids.   Read and follow their directions carefully!

    http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/SimpleWill.aspx

The State Bar also provides some excellent information in a set of pamphlets about wills, living trusts and estate planning, all accessible from that same page.

Finally, and perhaps even more important than all of that stuff about "stuff”, and especially if you are not married, there are non-asset-related issues you will want to address - things like powers of attorney, medical decisions and hospitalization visitation and HIPAA releases.  These are essential for married couples and even more important (because there often aren't helpful defaults) for unmarried ones.  A good attorney will address and discuss all of these with you, so even after reviewing all your beneficiary designations, and trusts and "stuff" - we generally still recommend that folks consider seeing an attorney.  



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