Estate Planning

What is Estate Planning?

Having a properly drafted living trust and will can be one of the most important things a person can do, not only for themselves, but also for their family. Contrary to what a lot of people might think, living trusts and wills are not only for the wealthy.  In fact, aside from a few exceptions, most people who have minor children or own a home or any other real property should have a comprehensive estate plan.  Even those people who don’t own real property should consider protecting their assets by consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Should I Speak to an Estate Planning Attorney?

Why should you speak with an estate planning attorney?  The first and most important reason is the comfort and peace of mind knowing that you have properly planned for your families future in the event that something should happen to you as well as ensuring that all of your hard earned assets are given to the people that you wish them to go to.

The second reason why it is of paramount importance to speak to an estate planning attorney, is to avoid probate court by being proactive.  Learn more about probate and the benefits of avoiding probate courts below, in our frequently asked questions section.

Why us?  We can’t emphasize more the importance of speaking with an estate planning attorney.  Any qualified attorney.  Of course, it is important to select the right attorney for you; however, if you don’t decide to speak with us, please speak to another qualified attorney who can help you build a comprehensive estate plan, including a living trust.  If you do decide to speak with us, you can do so with the confidence of knowing that our attorneys have years of experience and have helped hundreds of hard working people just like you.

Estate Planning Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

A Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is a legal document that includes a set of written instructions and which is created to ensure that upon your death, your assests and property go to your intended beneficiaries.  A trust also provides for instructions on who can manage your assets if you should become incapacitated and how those assets can be managed.  Additionally, a properly drafted trust will help you avoid probate court.

What is Probate Court?

According to the San Diego County Court Website, “probate” is defined as follows, “Probate is the court-supervised process for identifying and gathering the decedent’s assets; paying taxes, debts, and expenses; and distributing the balance to beneficiaries. Probate deals with transferring the property of someone who has died (decedent) to the heirs or beneficiaries, deciding if a will is valid, and taking care of the financial responsibilities of the person who has died.”  This essentially means that, the Court will be deciding to whom your estate will be given and how it will be distributed.  Having your estate go through the probate system can take years in addition to the Probate Court charging fees or a percentage (5%) of the “gross” value of the estate.

What is a Pour Over Will?

A Pour Over Will is a certain type of will, most commonly used along with a trust, in which you make your trust the beneficiary of all of your assets including those assets that you might have forgotten to put in the name of your trust.  Your assets are then distributed in accordance to your specific instructions included in your trust.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A Durable Power of Attorney is a written document that enables an individual (yourself) to designate another person (agent) to act on your behalf for all financial matters designated. In other words, this document grants authority to an agent to act on your behalf if you beome incapacitated.

What is an Advanced Health Care Directive?

An Advanced Health Care Directive is a written legal document that allows you to specify what actions should be taken with regards to your health if you are unable to make decisions for yourself because of incapacity.  An Advanced Health Care Directive also ensures that the person you select as your health care agent will have access to your medical records in order to make necessary medical care decisions on your behalf.