Estate planning is for everyone. Plan for the unpredictable events that can happen unexpectedly that affect you and everyone close to you. Examine the options available and let us help you decide the best course. We use some or all of the tools we have listed below in assisting our clients, but it is the process we employ in doing so that makes your plan truly unique.
It is advisable to create these important documents below when you are in a normal relaxed frame of mind, rather than when you are ill or under pressure to do so. We often receive requests from relatives to create a Power of Attorney for their elderly relative. These documents are not valid if created at the request of the relative. The proper procedure is for the person who needs the document(s) to contact us and instruct us directly of their wishes.
Wills are simple instruments that outline the intention of the decedent on how his/her assets are distributed at death. It can be a form will that requires two witnesses, or it can be a holographic will written and signed by you that does not require any witness. Both of these types of wills are valid. However, a will MUST go through probate at the death of the deceased person if the gross value of the assets is valued at $150,000 or more.
We assist you in creating your trust, give you the opportunity to review it extensively to ensure that it conveys your intent so as to minimize any chances of a later challenge. After it is all done, we scan and give you a paper original and an electronic copy for safekeeping. Additionally we keep a scanned electronic copy in case it is misplaced.
Revocable Living Trust - This type of trust, also known as a Living Trust, is an instrument that expresses the intent of the deceased person on how his/her assets will be distributed at the time of death. This can also be used for multi-generational planning by securing the assets for the beneficiaries over a long period of time. It may also protect the assets in the trust from potential creditors’ claims.
Irrevocable Trust - Are used for complex estate planning that is intended to reduce or eliminate estate taxes and for asset protection.
Probate and Trust Administration
Probate is the court-supervised process of transferring the assets of a deceased person to his/her beneficiaries, regardless of the size of the estate. We are experienced in probate and have represented many families and estates in the greater Bay Area and throughout California. Trust administration is similar to probate and is used to transfer assets of a deceased person who has a trust to their beneficiaries. The major difference between trust administration and probate is court supervision requirements. Probate is supervised by the courts, but in most cases, trust administration involves no court supervision. Probate and trust administration can be complicated processes; contact us and put our experience to work for you.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a document you sign that authorizes someone to act on your behalf, make decisions for you or implement the decisions you have already made in writing concerning your financial transactions when you are not able to do it by yourself. It may become effective on the date you sign it or at a future time upon the occurrence of an event. The author is the principal. The person receiving the power is the agent. It is effective until the death of the principal. Your agent must be an adult.
Advance Health Care Directive or Power of Attorney for Health Care
Similar to a Power of Attorney, an Advance Health Care Directive or Power of Attorney for Health Care is a document that you sign directing someone to make health care decisions for you. It may also instruct someone to implement the decisions you have made in writing concerning your health care, when you are unable to do it yourself due to incapacity. It eliminates guess work that may arise about your medical treatment when you are unable to do so due to illness.
Trust and Estate Litigation
Ordinarily we do not encourage litigation of estate and trust matters because it involves close family relationships that could be jeopardized. However, if it becomes absolutely necessary to litigate to determine the intentions/wishes of the decedent, we will provide very valuable assistance based on our vast experience.
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