As a local realtor, my mission is to help the people of Sacramento buy and sell homes.  Today, I’m going to take it a step further and help you to develop a game plan to pass your home and other assets down to future generations to come.  On this episode of Sac N Gaged, we’re meeting with Colin T. Smith, an attorney specializing in estate planning right here in Sacramento.  We’ll learn how a little bit of planning can provide security to your loved ones and peace of mind for you; it’s easier than you think.

Estate planning is often a subject no one really wants to talk about; it can be hard to plan for the future after you pass, and many people put it off, even for decades.  Tackling this important step early, though, can actually ease anxiety and prevent many unfortunate circumstances from adversely affecting your estate.  That’s where Colin comes in: his in-depth knowledge of estate planning and probate law will translate the “legalese” of estate planning for you, setting you up with a plan that will ensure your children and family won’t be dealing with a messy situation after you’re gone.

If you’re wondering if having an estate plan is really necessary, your answer can be boiled down to one word: probate.  Probate is a process whereby the court is involved in handling your estate after you pass away, and it generally happens in California if you meet one of two thresholds: owning real estate upon your death or possessing assets in your name totaling over $150,000 upon your death.  These two thresholds apply regardless of whether you have a will or not.  The problem with probate?  The associated fees, which are set by law and are calculated based upon a percentage of your probate estate (i.e. your house and other assets).  To illustrate: if your house is worth $400,000, California probate fees would total $22,000 (not including court costs)!  Instead of letting that money go through the court system, proper estate planning will completely avoid probate and the fees associated with it, and leave more of your estate for your loved ones.  Colin charges a flat, reasonable fee that will minimally impact your pocket but provide you with true peace of mind and savings!

The only way to avoid probate is to create a properly funded living trust, which can be updated and amended as your life changes.  You’ll also want to have a healthcare directive and power of attorney to ensure that, should you be incapacitated in any way during your lifetime, you will have someone you trust that can make decisions on your behalf.  Your best bet in setting these documents up is to work with a trained professional, and Colin’s specialization in estate planning makes him the best choice for residents of Sacramento.  His expertise allows him to do the “heavy-lifting” for you, freeing you of the hassle of navigating complicated laws yourself.

Growing up in Sacramento, Colin has witnessed firsthand the amazing growth of our unique city, and he’s the perfect choice to understand the lifestyle and needs of homeowners in the area.  Be sure to check out his website and Facebook page to get all the details on how you can plan your estate for the future!  With the weight of your estate off your shoulders, you’ll have more time to explore everything Sacramento has to offer, and your future generations will enjoy it too.