Was Your Estate Plan Designed Just for You?

 

Perhaps you already had an estate plan drafted for you that includes all the proper documents including a Revocable Living Trust, Pour-Over Will, HIPPA Release, Durable Power of Attorney, and an Advance Healthcare Directive. Further, perhaps the funding was completed and deed preparation and filing for your real estate was done so that your home is titled in the name of the trust. Or perhaps you are considering getting this in order. Fantastic. I'll bet you don't want an experience where you are handed an estate plan and you have no idea what it says, and feel like it was simply a product dropped in your lap. That's not so fantastic.

 

Let me tell you something: if you don't think your wishes will be carried out, or weren't even asked about your wishes during the process, your estate plan is probably not what you were hoping for.  Ask yourself some questions about what you would like done if you are incapacitated, and what you would like to happen after you are gone.  Perhaps baseball is your thing and you like to make sure some of your money is used to buy tickets and get you out to some games each year if you are incapacitated somehow. Or maybe you are taking care of your mother and you'd like to make sure she continues to receive support even if you are incapacitated. For me, my German Shepherd is hugely important and I want her taken care of if I die before she does. Here's one I bet we all want - that we be cared for in our own home as long as possible instead of put into a nursing home.

 

 

 

Why I am different

 

If you’d like a truly custom Estate Plan, and not a “fill in the blanks” style product that you don’t really understand, consider calling me.  I always include a review of all of the documents that I prepare and sit with my clients for as long as necessary and explain each line if necessary to make sure my clients get what they expect and what they want. 

 

I think we all have things that are important to us, and perhaps you didn't know that these kinds of wishes could be accomplished. They can. Your Estate Plan, your Living Trust, is a powerful document. Let's make it a truly customized and powerful document that is all yours and not just a commodity. Call me and let's create yours today.  If you already have a plan, I'm happy to review all of your documents and make changes to reflect your wishes. Get it done, then breathe easier!

 

Thanks for reading.

See a lot of helpful estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com

My most important job is to listen to your wishes then suggest solutions.  Call today and let’s start planning!  I always answer my own phone, and I even make house calls!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Dan Powell

1-619-980-2297

****Reminder****

Just like my website, nothing in this blog is intended as legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. I am licensed to practice law in California.  Further, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog (and on my website). There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would not be practical to discuss all of them here. This is why I speak in generalities. Thanks again for reading.

****************

This document is for informational purposes only.  Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice.  Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship.  If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.  I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information.

 

Monday, 25 July 2016 02:02

Divorce and Estate Planning

Written by

Divorce and Estate Planning

 

What happens to your Estate Plan if you get a divorce?

 Divorce is a mess.  I know first-hand.  There are several things you should consider after some of the smoke clears.  If you don’t have an estate plan, now would be a great time to get it done.  If you do have an estate plan, you will want to make some changes.

 

California has a law that after divorce, any gifts in your Will to your now ex-spouse are revoked.  Even so, it is best to create an entirely new Will.  One of the reasons is that your Will is used to name a guardian for your children.  If you have children with your ex-spouse, and barring any ruling to the contrary, if one spouse dies, the court will most likely award the surviving spouse custody.  In the event that both parents are unavailable, your designation of a Guardian may control who raises your children depending on the circumstances.  You will also want to change the Executor and Beneficiaries named in your Will.

 

 

Be Active, Be Through

 Some things to consider:

  • First and foremost, talk to an Estate Planning Attorney like myself
  • Re-do your Will
  • Re-do your Revocable Living Trust
  • Change the beneficiary on the various accounts you own where you’ve named your now ex-spouse as the beneficiary such as:

 Life Insurance

Power of Attorney

Health Care Power of Attorney (also called an Advance Healthcare Directive)

Retirement accounts

Bank accounts

  • Check your vehicle titles
  • Check your deeds to any Real Property

 

 

As I said before, divorce is a mess.  I can help you clean-up your estate plan and help you get these things behind you so that you can move forward with your life.

 

Please feel free to give me a call today and we can review your situation and Estate Plan goals.    

 

See lots of estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com

 

 

William Daniel Powell (Dan)

619-980-2297

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

****************

This document is for informational purposes only.  Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice.  Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship.  If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.  I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information

Also, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog and my website. There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would be impractical to discuss all of them here.

****************

What shouldn’t I put in my Living Trust?

 

Automobiles

I don’t recommend putting your automobile into a Revocable Living Trust mainly because if you should get into an accident, and the other person sees that your car is owned by a Trust, they may think you are wealthy and look to sue in a situation where they otherwise would not.

Now, if you own a classic car, hot rod, or other collectable car that you plan on keeping for a long period, then it makes more sense to put the auto into the Trust.  Usually these types of cars are not “daily drivers” and pose less of a risk of lawsuit like discussed above. 

  

IRA’s and 401(k)

IRA and 401(k) accounts present a specific problem if we try to put them into a Living Trust by changing the title of the asset.  The problem is that doing so creates a “taxable event” and too much of the value of the IRA will be lost to taxes.  Not good.  So what do we do with IRA’s?  The question depends on your situation.  If you are married, likely the best solution is to name the spouse as the beneficiary (and not a Trust).  If you are not married, then a beneficiary designation can still be utilized to pass the asset on to someone else such as a child.  Another method is to name a specially designed Trust called a Standalone Retirement Trust (or SRT) as the beneficiary.  Using a Standalone Retirement Trust provides some benefits to the beneficiary that an outright gift cannot.  Naming an individual as the beneficiary (and not a Trust) is considered an “outright gift” because once they are entitled to the funds, there is no control over how the funds are to be used (provided they are over 18 years of age).  They get the lump sum and off they go.  You can see how this can be a bad situation for the young, those bad with money, those subject to predators, or even those bad marriages!  In a recent case called Clark v. Rameker, the Supreme Court held that an inherited IRA cannot be shielded from creditors or bankruptcy.  This is why a Standalone Retirement Trust can be so beneficial.  There are other tax advantages to using a SRT that I won’t go into here, but in a nutshell, the distribution may be able to be streached out and keep the beneficiary in a lower tax bracket, and provide opportunity for the IRA to continue to grow. 

  

Other items that shouldn’t go into your Trust

There are other items that should not go into your Living Trust that I won’t cover here.  Please check my future blogs for possible discussion of these items (or of course consult an attorney!)

Please feel free to give me a call and we can review your Estate Planning goals, or start your Estate Plan today!

 

See lots of estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com

 

Thanks for reading.

 

William Daniel Powell (Dan)

619-980-2297

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

****************

This document is for informational purposes only.  Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice.  Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship.  If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.  I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information

Also, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog and my website. There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would be impractical to discuss all of them here.

****************

Does my Car go into my Living Trust?

 

Technically speaking, your automobile can go into your Revocable Living Trust, but I don’t usually recommend it.  I don’t usually put cars into Trusts for two reasons.  The first is that we tend to buy and sell cars more frequently than other “big ticket” items.  The second and more important reason is that should you get into an accident and the other party sees that your car is owned by a Trust, they may see dollar signs and look to sue in a situation where they otherwise may not.  Generally, people (married people) tend to keep their cars in both spouse’s names, so transferring the car is not difficult.

 

There is an occasion that I would recommend putting an automobile into a Living Trust, and that is when someone owns a special car such as a collector car, classic car, hot-rod, or other car that they plan on keeping for life.  

 

Please feel free to give me a call and we can review your Estate Planning goals, or start your Estate Plan today!

 

See lots of estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com

 

Thanks for reading.

 

William Daniel Powell (Dan)

619-980-2297

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

****************

This document is for informational purposes only.  Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice.  Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship.  If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.  I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information

Also, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog and my website. There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would be impractical to discuss all of them here.

****************

Friday, 17 June 2016 02:01

Does my Home go in my Living Trust?

Written by

Does my Home go into my Living Trust?

People often ask “what items do I put in my Revocable Living Trust?”  Usually the biggest and most important item is your home.  The process for putting your home into a Revocable Trust is fairly simple.  The attorney will obtain the latest deed to your home if you don’t have one, then he or she will prepare a new deed that transfers the home from you as an individual to you as Trustee of your Revocable Living Trust.  It does not matter if you are still paying a mortgage on your home, it can still be put into the Living Trust.  If you have property outside of California, then an attorney in the other state will need to prepare a deed and have it recorded.  Your estate planning attorney will explain all of the details to you.

 

A “PCOR”, or Preliminary Change of Ownership Report is also filled out and submitted with the deed to the County Recorder’s Office.  This PCOR basically tells the County Recorder that the home is being transferred to a Revocable Trust, and that no reassessment is needed (so property taxes don’t go up!) 

   

It is important to remember that one does not lose control of their property when they create a Revocable Living Trust (sometimes called an Inter Vivos Living Trust, or just Living Trust).  Think of a Living Trust like a bucket that you built.  You decide what to put in your bucket (with advice from an attorney), and what to take out of your bucket should you so choose.  The IRS, as a matter of fact, views this bucket as an extension of you and doesn’t require a separate tax return.  You just do your taxes as normal.  If something happens to you, you can decide who is going to hold your bucket next.  This person is called the Successor Trustee.  Should you kick the bucket, you can decide what happens to what is left inside.  Forgive the attempt at humor.  We can’t take life too seriously! 

 

Please feel free to give me a call today and we can review your situation and other Estate Planning goals.  Everyone’s situation is different, and I can help create solutions. 

 

See lots of estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com

 

William Daniel Powell (Dan)

619-980-2297

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

****************

This document is for informational purposes only.  Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice.  Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship.  If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.  I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information

Also, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog and my website. There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would be impractical to discuss all of them here.

****************

Do I Need a Living Trust? My Granddad’s Story

 

The phone on the kitchen pass-thru rang.  Granddad was in the hospital, had taken a turn, and this was the call we hoped didn’t come in.  It was quickly decided how many cars to drive to the hospital and as it turned out I drove myself there.  Hindsight being what it is, I should have ridden with someone because I may have fractured a speeding law while simultaneously setting a new land speed record in driving my Dodge Charger to the hospital in an emotional and horsepower fueled semi-panic.  Probably not the safest, but I was 18 years old and loved my granddad very much.

 

He never came home from the hospital and mom helped grandma with all that she could.  I remember asking my mom about what was next to come.  I felt bad asking if there was going to be a reading of the Will because I didn’t want to appear like I was interested in material things, but the reality was that I believed that was just how it happened.  I thought it was like how we see it happen on TV.  You know, sitting in a lawyer’s office, with wood paneling on the wall, and all the family sitting in chairs listening.  That’s not how it happens.  The reality was that there was very little estate planning in place, and my mom had to deal with most of the issues and red tape.  After things were cleared up, she told her mom that she really needed to create a Living Trust, and grandma agreed.

 

Have you had someone close to you pass away?  Aside from the emotional pain and distress this caused, if the loved one had no estate planning in place – no Will, no Revocable Living Trust, nothing – and you had to handle the affairs, I sure you realize what a mess this can create.  If you’ve never dealt with this, I’m sure you can learn from others.

 

I’ll give you an explanation of just one of the rewards of creating an estate plan beyond avoiding the mess that not having any estate plan creates, and that is avoiding the costs and time delay of probate.  Let’s say you have an estate worth $650,000.  That is not difficult to do living here in San Diego.  Let us assume that you have a home worth $500,000 and accounts and other property that values at $150,000.  Now with Probate, it doesn’t matter that you owe $10 for your home, or $400,000, the estate is still valued, and costs are still determined at the $650,000 number.  The statutory amount an attorney can charge is $16,000.  The Executor of the estate is also allowed to charge the estate for his or her services up to the statutory amount.  So in this example, another $16,000.  Excluding court costs and other costs, we can see that the cost of Probate for an estate valued at $650,000 is potentially $32,000.  Wow, that’s a lot compared with the few thousand dollars that an inter vivos living trust will cost you.  Plus, Probate usually takes a year or longer.  You can avoid all this loss very easily – create an Estate Plan today.  By the way, a Trust goes by many different names including Living Trust, Revocable Trust, Revocable Living Trust, Inter Vivos Trust, Inter Vivos Living Trust and others.  You can read more about the costs of Probate in my blog.

 

Please feel free to give me a call today and we can review your Estate Planning goals.  Everyone’s situation is different, and I can help create solutions to address your specific goals and your particular situation. 

 

See lots of estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com

 

William Daniel Powell (Dan)

619-980-2297

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

****************

This document is for informational purposes only.  Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice.  Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship.  If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.  I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information

Also, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog and my website. There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would be impractical to discuss all of them here.

****************

Saturday, 30 April 2016 22:44

What is a Charitable Remainder Trust?

Written by

What is a Charitable Remainder Trust?

 

 

One way to think of a Charitable Remainder Trust (or CRT) is like a reverse mortgage that you establish with a participating charity.  You promise certain property to a charity, and in return they pay you a certain sum of money per year.  The amount the charity will give you yearly will depend on the value of the property you promise to give the charity, and your age when the charitable remainder trust is established.  Certain organizations offer charitable remainder trusts, and others do not.  Further certain organizations offer the legal service of drafting the CRT for free.  They usually do this to insure the Trust is drafted in the manner they prefer, and to keep the cost of having to review each charitable remainder trust to a minimum.

 

 

Even without a participating charity, a charitable remainder trust can be set up by an individual under the Internal Revenue Service Code.  This would still be an irrevocable trust like in the previous example.  The person that sets up the Trust called the Settlor or Trustor, establishes the irrevocable trust with him or herself as the beneficiary.  They receive a percentage of income, and the remainder goes to a charity.  This is usually considered an advanced estate planning method, but the classification is really pretty unimportant.  The only reason for the distinction is that it is usually used by persons with larger estates looking to reduce estate tax liability.  However, it can be used by anyone.  Some client’s situation is such that they find this option interesting.  Their situation normally is one where they either have huge charitable intent, or have no living relatives and huge charitable intent.  Whatever your situation, we can always discuss various options.

 

See lots of estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com 

 

Give me a call today and see how affordable a quality Estate Plan that is 100% attorney advised, and 100% attorney prepared can be.   Effectuate your intentions, obtain your desired results, provide for those whom you care about.

 

 

Thanks for reading my blog.

 

 

William Daniel Powell

 

619-980-2297

 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

****************

This document is for informational purposes only.  Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice.  Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship.  If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.  I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information.

Also, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog and my website. There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would be impractical to discuss all of them here.

****************

Saturday, 23 April 2016 22:55

A Gift Given Outright, or in Trust?

Written by

Outright Gifts Versus Gifts in Trust

 

In this blog we will be talking about the advantages and the disadvantages of giving a gift outright versus a gift given in Trust.  Generally speaking, a gift given in Trust is the preferred method because of the protection a Trust can provide.

 

 

Outright Gift

 

What is an Outright Gift?  This is a gift that is given to another with no strings attached so-to-speak.  A simple Will that gives a person (a beneficiary) something does so “Outright”.  A Will that does not create a Trust (called a Testamentary Trust) cannot control how the gift is used, how long it is to be held, or provide any protection to the beneficiary from predators, bad marriages, creditors, or even from the beneficiary her or himself.  The donee (the person that receives a gift) is free to do whatever they like with an outright gift the moment they receive it.  Some donors cringe at the thought of one (or more) of their kids getting a large gift at a young age for fear of squandering the gift.  The older we get, the older we think our kids should be before they get such a large gift also!  Aside from that concern, or even if you don’t have such a concern, there is another reason to use a Trust to distribute a gift.  I heard a story once of a responsible donee that received a gift of money from his parents.  He put the money in his account and just used it over the years for various reasons.  Much later on reflection, he wished his mother had said something like “it is my wish that you use this money for memorable occasions such as vacations, or even gifts to one another.”  This way every time he spent the money, or remembered the vacation, he would have thought of mom also.  That’s a pretty nice thought.  That shows love and caring in my book.

 

 

Gifts Given in a Trust

 

So now let’s talk about what it means to give a gift in Trust.  This is the most flexible way to give a gift to another person.  A gift given in Trust can be outright, even though it is given in Trust, and on the other side of the spectrum, a gift in trust can be held by the Trustee (someone other than the Beneficiary) and distributed to the Beneficiary at the discretion of the Trustee.  This provides the most protection for the Beneficiary. 

 

For more on protecting the Beneficiary’s inheritance, please see my blog here:

protecting the Beneficiary’s inheritance

 

So because of the protection that a Trust provides, and because we can provide guidance – from mild to extensive – giving items in Trust is the preferred method of distributing our assets to the next generation.

 

See lots of estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com

 

I am never too busy to help, and I do my best to answer my phone every time it rings.  Call me and let’s get your Estate Plan together to get you the peace of mind it provides.

 

Thanks for reading my blog.

 

William Daniel Powell

619-980-2297

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

****************

This document is for informational purposes only.  Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice.  Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship.  If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.  I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information

Also, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog and my website. There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would be impractical to discuss all of them here.

****************

Sunday, 17 April 2016 00:53

The Estate Planning Process

Written by

I have been asked often enough about what happens during the estate planning process that I thought I’d memorialize the process here in my blog. 

What Happens When I Create an Estate Plan?

Generally speaking, it depends on whether you have an estate plan already in place and are seeking to modify the plan, or if you are creating an estate plan for the first time.  What happens on the first meeting is generally a “meet and greet” where the you and I get to speak to each other and discuss options and results.  During this first meeting, I spend a lot of time listening to what you have to say, and what your desired outcome is in creating your estate plan.  I also answer any questions you may have, and ask quite a few questions myself to help me gain a greater understanding of you and your particular goals.  Also, during this first meeting, the plan is established and the course of action is decided upon.

 

The next step is for me to begin drafting the documents required whether it be a Will based plan, or a Revocable Living Trust based plan.  Sometimes different planning methods are required such as a Special Needs Trust, Irrevocable Trust, or the like. During this time, it is not unusual for you and I to have additional questions for each other. 

 

Next is a review meeting where we sit down and read the documents I have prepared for you.  I explain each document as we go and answer any questions you may have.  Then, after any changes if necessary, we will meet to sign all of the documents.  The last step is funding if the estate plan is a Trust based plan. 

 

 

So to summarize, the process is:

  • First meeting and decide on type of Estate Plan needed (30 min to about 1 hour.  I offer a free 30-minute consultation, but have not charged yet for first meetings that ran longer.)
  • Second step is Document Drafting (the complexity of the plan will dictate the drafting time.)
  • The third meeting is Document Review (usually about an hour.)
  • The last meeting is for Document Signing (usually about an hour.)
  • The last step is Funding – if the plan is a Trust based plan.

 

Is it ever a bad idea to plan?  I think not.  I would love to help you get your estate plan off of your “to-do list”.  Call now and we can start planning!

 

See lots of estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com

 

Thanks for reading!

William Daniel Powell

619-980-2297

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

****Reminder****

Just like my website, nothing in this blog is intended as legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. I am licensed to practice law in California.  Further, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog (and on my website). There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would not be practical to discuss all of them here. This is why I speak in generalities. Thanks again for reading.

****************

This document is for informational purposes only.  Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice.  Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship.  If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.  I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information.

Latest blog posts

Blog Categories