Estate Planning

For estates both large and small, estate planning services organize your financial and health care affairs. Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts, Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney for Management of Financial Affairs and Advance Health Care Directives are some of the planning tools available.

In the State of California , the Probate Court has control over the estates of individuals who pass away with real estate or assets totaling more than $150,000 at their death.  A court process called Probate must be undertaken. The probate process can be long and expensive, which may hinder or prevent your loved ones from receiving the proceeds from your estate. A revocable trust avoids this expensive, public process.  Each document mentioned below plays a part to ensure that your affairs can be managed without the involvement of the Probate Court.

Planning Tools

Wills Revocable Trusts Special Needs Trusts Powers of Attorney Advance Health Care Directive

Wills: Name executors, beneficiaries and guardians of minor children

Wills allow you to choose who will receive your money, real property, personal belongings and family heirlooms. With this document you can nominate an Executor to oversee your estate distribution. Wills also allow you to choose Guardians for your children. Wills do not avoid Probate or minimize estate tax liability if own real estate or your assets have a value greater than $150,000. A Will can be very helpful for estates under $150,000.

When a Will is executed in combination with a revocable living trust the Will can pour-over assets you may have not funded, or transferred, to your trust. This ensures that any assets you have not transferred to your trust will still be treated and distributed according to the terms outlined in your trust.

Revocable Living Trust Your Living Legacy

A Revocable Living Trust can help your estate avoid supervision by a local court in a formal probate process. It can direct your estate after you are gone with amazing flexibility. You can ensure the people close to you benefit from your hard work and planning. You have the ability to designate a Trustee who will follow the directions written in your trust. A trustee can be an individual or individuals you feel comfortable relying upon to manage your estate or a financial institution with a trust management division.

You can direct your Trustee to distribute your estate in any number of ways to any number of people or organizations. Many of our clients simply wish to provide for their children. Others wish to provide for their grandchildren, friends, parents or siblings. There are many creative options to donate a portion of your estate to a charity. Your estate can and should be your living legacy.

Separate Share Trusts – Plan for Minors, Separate Property, Special Needs

Separate Share Trusts can be established within your Revocable Living Trust if you wish for the Trustee to have more control over a certain beneficiary’s distribution. A Separate Share Trust can be initiated when children are too young to receive their inheritance. The money can be held in trust and managed for the young person until he or she reaches a certain age. A Separate Share Trust can also be initiated when a beneficiary will never be capable of managing an inheritance without assistance. In these situations a trustee may manage the money for the beneficiary’s lifetime.

Special Needs Trusts

A Special Needs Trust can be a separate, irrevocable trust created for a beneficiary entitled to received government benefits. A Revocable Living Trust can incorporate a Special Needs Trust, which will remain revocable until the death of the trust settlor. Special Needs Trusts plan for individuals who may receive public benefits due to developmental, social or physical disability. These individuals may have assets managed on their behalf without any disqualification from public benefits with proper planning.

Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a document that will allow another adult, called your agent or attorney-in-fact, to act and sign for you with regards to your financial obligations and other personal affairs if you are not available. The agent of a Power of Attorney can sign loan documents for you if you are on vacation. A Power of Attorney can be used to help a loved one who no longer has capacity to sign legal documents.

Advanced Health Care Directives

An Advance Health Care Directive enables you to document your emergency contact list for medical professionals, and additionally can be used to plan for temporary inability to make healthcare decisions. This document will allow you to direct a loved one regarding your wishes.