What Does the Typical Estate Plan Include?

 

Well, let’s start with discussing what a “typical” estate plan is, and is not.  The fact is that there is not really one typical estate plan as everyone’s situation is a bit different.  There is a fairly common set of circumstances that creates a “typical” estate plan, and usually covers most people.  However, there are several situations that require special estate planning, and push some people out of the more typical estate plan.

 

 

Special Estate Planning to Avoid the Federal Estate Tax

 

Most of us don’t have assets that would push us into the realm of needing to worry about federal estate tax.  If you have assets that meet, exceed, or will exceed the Federal Estate Tax Exclusion amount, then you will likely want some non-standard estate planning.  For the year 2016, the Federal Estate Tax Exemption is $5,430,000 for an individual, and $10,860,000 for a married couple.  This means that an individual can leave $5.43 million to their heirs and no Federal Estate Tax will be imposed, and a married couple can leave $10,860,000 to their heirs without worrying about triggering the Federal Estate Tax. 

 

 

Special Estate Planning Required for Other Situations

 

Some other situations that generally require special estate planning include those adults with special needs, or those with children that have special needs.  A Special Needs Trust is used to ensure that those receiving means-tested public benefits don’t become disqualified by receiving an inheritance or other income. 

 

Another familiar situation is where there is a “blended family”.  In these situations, there is a couple or person with children from a previous marriage.  Their desire is to make sure their child or children receive an inheritance.  A married couple with a “standard” Joint Revocable Living Trust is set up in such a way so that the first spouse to pass leaves everything to the surviving spouse.  As you can imagine, in a blended-family situation, the surviving spouse is free to change the distribution scheme and leave the entire estate to whomever he or she wishes.  An A/B Trust prevents this by becoming irrevocable upon the passing of the Trustor that dies.

There are other “non-standard” situations that I won’t discuss here for the purpose of brevity.  If you have questions, please contact me, or an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

 

 

So get on with It!  What is in a Typical Estate Plan?

 

Okay!  So for the vast majority of us, and especially those of us in San Diego, the typical Estate Plan includes:

  • If you are single, it includes a Revocable Living Trust (sometimes called an Inter Vivos Trust, Living Trust, or even perhaps just a Trust)
  • If you are married, it includes a Joint Revocable Living Trust
  • A Pour-Over Will
  • Power of Attorney
  • An Advance Healthcare Directive (sometimes called an AHCD, or AHD)
  • It also includes a HIPPA release
  • A Certification of Trust
  • Trust Summary
  • The funding of the Trust with the family home

 

So as you see, it can be a bit different for each person.  Call me today and let’s get your plan together and get you some peace of mind!

 

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

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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.

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Tuesday, 31 May 2016 01:58

Dave Ramsey Said I Only Need a Will

Written by

Dave Ramsey Said I Only Need a Will

First of all, let me start by saying that I respect Dave Ramsey.  Dave Ramsey, however, is not a lawyer, and he is certainly not a San Diego estate planning attorney.  Why is this relevant?  Well, Dave Ramsey quite often suggests that a Will is something that every person needs.  Moreover, he has said in his book that he thinks Trusts are unnecessary due to their cost of creation.  I agree with Dave Ramsey in that everybody needs some kind of estate plan whether that is a Will based plan, or Trust based plan.  A Will alone (or even in conjunction with the Living Will and Power of Attorney that Dave sells on his website) is not the one-size-fits-all solution that Dave Ramsey seems to suggest.  This is generally so because of the cost of Probate in California, and specifically so because of the cost of homes here in San Diego. 

 

Why can creating a Will cost more than creating a Revocable Living Trust?

Creating a Will based plan can cost almost as much as a Revocable Trust in certain situations, but it is generally a little more affordable.  A proper estate plan contains more than just a Will or just a Trust.  So much of the cost of creating a plan is the same in either option.  Also, if it takes 10 pages to dispose of items to those you choose, it will take 10 pages in a Will and 10 pages in a Trust, so the drafting time is very similar.  The real cost difference is in the cost of Probating a Will.  There is a link to one of my Blog posts above for you that details the cost of Probate in California.  The cost of a home here in California just means that the cost of Probate can go higher. 

 

So is a Will Based Plan Wrong?

No, I wouldn’t go so far as to say a Will based estate plan is always wrong.  For those with few assets, a Will may be preferred because they can take advantage of California’s simplified Probate procedure.  There are certain requirements for taking advantage of California’s Simplified Probate Process that you can read here.  But as I have stated before, a Revocable Trust centered estate plan is usually preferred to a Will because of the powers that a Living Trust provides such as:

  • A Trust is private where a Will is public record
  • A Living Trust helps you if you become incapacitated
  • Wills must be probated and the California Probate process costs time and money
  • Trusts allow for greater control over how and when the beneficiary is to receive property

 

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 

 

Thank-you for reading.

 

William Daniel Powell (Dan)

619-980-2297

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

 

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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.

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What is a Trust Amendment?  What is a Trust Restatement?

 

 

So what is an Amendment to a Trust?

 

What is a Trust amendment?  An amendment to a Trust is simply where one makes a change of a provision or provisions to their Trust.  This may include where the Trustor wants to add a beneficiary like where there is a new grandchild to the family.  It can also include changing a gift to a beneficiary, removing a beneficiary, or changing how the beneficiary is to receive the gift.  There is one requirement to amending a Trust and that is that the Trust must allow such changes.  Revocable Living Trusts, or sometimes Revocable Trusts, or Living Trusts are by design amendable.  Irrevocable Trusts such as ILIT’s (Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts), or Special Needs Trusts are just that – irrevocable.  These kinds of Trusts are used in specific circumstances, and you can read about them in my blog.

  

What is a Restatement of Trust?

 

A Restatement of Trust is basically an amendment of the entire Trust, even if it is just to change one provision.  This is better than re-drafting the entire Living Trust especially if the Trust is “funded”.  If the Trust is funded, you don’t need to create a new deed to the house and notarize and record it with the city.  Nor do you need to change any account that are held in the name of the Trust. 

 

Why do some Attorneys prefer a Restatement to an Amendment?

 

The answer to this question lies in the answer to another question – who drafted the original Trust?  Normally if you go to a new attorney, they will prefer to do a restatement.  You see, the last attorney to make a change to a Trust takes all of the responsibility for any defects in the Trust document.  Even if the new attorney only changes one word.  Now, the new attorney can read and analyze the entire document, make any updates required, make the changes you have requested, and bill for the time.  Or, simply restate the Trust with your changes and likely save time and money for you.

 

If you need changes to your existing plan, please give me a call.  I offer 100% attorney advised and prepared estate plans for a reasonable fee.

 

Please see my Blog for more discussion of various aspects of Estate Planning.

 

Please feel free to give me a call and we can establish your Revocable Living Trust or other Estate Planning goals today.  If you have specific estate planning objectives, I can help create solutions. 

 

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

 

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.

 

 

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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.

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When Will I Know I Need an Estate Plan?

 

 

Is it too Early to Plan?

 

I am an Estate Planning attorney.  Therefore, my standard answer is that it is never too early to plan.  The three most influential and prominent cases that are related to healthcare involve persons under 45 years old and one of these cases includes Terri Schiavo.  Most of us (that are old enough) remember her name, but here are some facts you may not know.  She died after her feeding tube was removed and was 41 years old.  She unfortunately suffered a heart attack at 26 years old and was on the feeding tube for 15 years.  Still think it’s too early to plan? 

 

Aside from an Advance Healthcare Directive, a Trust is an important document to have in your estate plan for a number of reasons.  A Revocable Living Trust is like a bucket that you (the Trustor) creates during life (the legal word is Intervivos), and as the creator of the Trust you are free to put items into, and take items out of the Living Trust.  So you can see that creating a Revocable Trust does not mean that you will lose control of your property.  Actually quite the opposite. A Trust can help you should you ever become incapacitated from a coma, Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  You can designate who holds your bucket should you ever lose capacity and this person is called your successor trustee.  There are many other great reasons to create an Estate Plan, and you can read about them in my various Blog posts here: http://www.myestate-plan.com/blog

 

 

So When Will I Know I Need a Trust 

 

I think some great triggers to creating an Estate Plan other than those mentioned above are when one buys a home, townhome, condo or the like.  Another great reason to create an Estate Plan is when one gets married or has a child.  Even if you don’t own a home or think you don’t have sufficient assets to create a Trust, this is an important time to make sure your spouse and child are taken care of.  Life insurance can be utilized to fund a Trust and take care of your loved ones should something happen to you.  If a bread winner is lost, income must be replaced, short and long terms bills must be payed, and college and other expenses should be contemplated.  Using life insurance to fund a Trust can be a very affordable solution, especially for young persons or young couples.  For reasons why gifts should be given in Trust instead of just naming a beneficiary and giving the gift outright, please see my blog on Outright Gifts versus gifts Given in Trust.

 

 

Please see my Blog for more discussion of various aspects of Estate Planning.

 

Please feel free to give me a call and we can establish your Revocable Living Trust, your Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), or other Estate Planning goals today.  If you have specific estate planning objectives, I can help create solutions. 

 

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

 

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.

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Why Does a Living Trust Help if I get Alzheimer’s?

 

What is Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?

According to the statistics 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of Dementia.   Alzheimer’s is a specific form of Dementia that attacks the brain.  Some facts about Alzheimer’s include:

  • Alzheimer’s develops slowly
  • Alzheimer’s has no cure, but treatments can slow its progression
  • There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s gets worse as time passes
  • It is not a normal part of aging to develop Alzheimer’s
  • The progression of Alzheimer’s disease usually becomes severe enough to interfere with daily life

 

Dementia is similar to Alzheimer’s Disease.  Dementia is a general term for a mental disease that progresses to the point that the decline in mental ability eventually becomes severe enough to interfere with daily life.

 

The number of American’s with Alzheimer’s is growing and is expected to double or triple in the next thirty-five years.  The majority of people with Alzheimer’s is age 65 or older.  With American’s living longer these days, the threat seams to loom over us all.  According to the Social Security Administration, a man reaching age 65 today can expect to live to age 84, and a woman can expect to reach age 86.  See the figures for life expectancy here:

ssa gov life expectancy

 

You can read more about Alzheimer’s at the Alzheimer’s Association here -  Alzheimer’s Association Website , or by performing a Google search for an association of your choosing.

 

So How Does a Living Trust Help if I lose Mental Capacity?

A Will is said to “speak on death”.  That means a Will only becomes effective upon the person that creates the Wills (the Testators) death.  A Trust has the power to manage property by dictating who has the power to act for you should certain circumstances occur.  The person that creates a Trust is called the Trustor or Settlor, the Trustee is the person that manages Trust property, and the beneficiary receives the benefit of the Trust property.  When one creates a Living Trust (also called a Revocable Living Trust, or a Revocable Trust) they are generally all three of these people or entities.  Provisions in the Trust can dictate how the incapacity of the Trustor will be determined.  Upon a determination of incapacity, the successor Trustee will assume responsibility and manage the Trust.  This includes caring for the now incapacitated Trustor according to his or her wishes memorialized in the Trust document.  This is a very important benefit to creating a proper Estate Plan that includes the proper array of documents including the Trust, Pour-over Will, Certificate of Trust, Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Healthcare Directive, and others.  Without all the proper documents in place prior to someone loosing mental capacity, court proceeding will be needed prior to managing the patient’s affairs.  This can be costly both in time and money.

 

For this and other significant reasons, a proper Estate Plan is important to have in place.  We do our best to care for ourselves and those we care most about.  Call me and let’s get your Estate Plan together to get you the peace of mind it provides.

 

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

 

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.

 

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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.

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

Monday, 25 April 2016 23:53

Why Not LegalZoom?

Written by

Why Not LegalZoom?

 

So why don’t I just go to LegalZoom for my Will or Trust?  LegalZoom is not a law firm and is not allowed to provide legal advice.  They can only ask some fairly generic questions, then output a set of forms for you.  The problem is that everyone’s situation is different, and this is not a circumstance in which to cut-and-paste information.  I had a client ask me once how much does a living trust cost?  When I asked him some questions and got enough information to at least provide an estimate, he told me “that’s too much, I was told all the attorney has to do is cut-and-paste some names to create an estate plan”.  I thought wow, is that the attorney you want preparing ANYTHING for you?  With absolutely zero attention to detail, with zero information about your family situation, and zero information about your desires, you will get an estate plan that the attorney (or computer program, or LegalZoom) wants you to have, not the estate plan that YOU want and need. 

 

 

Everyone’s Situation is Different

 

Think about a close friend of yours.  One you grew up near, same school, same neighborhood.  Is that person’s situation the same as yours?  It is in these differences that the trained practitioner is usually most interested.  Some people have a family business, others may be expecting an inheritance, perhaps a child with special needs, or a child that has creditor problems or even substance abuse issues.  Here is something to consider: how can you know what it is you don’t know?  Did you know if you use the standard “boilerplate” language (such that is likely produced by document drafting software, or LegalZoom, or a “Trust Mill”), you can create situations that you never intended?  For example, if you want a Trustee to hold certain property for a beneficiary for a period of time, with standard Trustee language you can get the Trustee into some trouble.  A Trustee is liable to the beneficiary for certain actions taken or not taken.  I’m sure your Trustee doesn’t want to pay money out of his or her pocket because you wanted a cheap living trust. 

 

 

 Why Not Use LegalZoom for my Living Trust or Will?

  • They are not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice
  • Make sure you compare apples to apples.  A proper Revocable Living Trust centered estate plan contains the Living Trust, Certificate of Trust (times 2), Summary of Trust, Pour-over Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Healthcare Directive, HIPPA Release, Funding help, and I include document review meeting, revisions, initial meeting, signing meeting, notary fees, and specific funding.
  • They can’t possibly get to know your situation or make suggestions to address your situation
  • If you do use LegalZoom for your Will or Living Trust, will LegalZoom be available to help make sure my intentions are upheld?  Will LegalZoom step in and provide testimony as to my intent?
  • Will LegalZoom pay if a mistake in their forms causes the problem, like an attorney’s malpractice insurance would?  (No – See their limited warranty and their ability to change it unilaterally).
  • Are there any tax considerations that I may know (or not know) about that are not addressed in my LegalZoom forms? 
  • In my trust, does LegalZoom tell me what marital deduction formula to select? 
  • Does LegalZoom consider community property versus separate property and the issue of preserving its tax benefits? 
  • Does my plan take into consideration the preservation or potential loss of the stepped-up in basis on appreciated assets? 
  • Do I know what the threshold for estate (death) taxes are on the federal and state level and does LegalZoom counsel me and include the proper language in my will and trust? 
  • Does LegalZoom consider the best apportionment clause to include (or not include) in my will and trust?
  • Does my estate plan provide any protection against my beneficiaries’ bankruptcies, divorces, creditors if they have these issues when I die?
  • Is my plan integrated with others in my family?  Do I possess a power of appointment that should be addressed in my will or trust?  Should I grant one to a beneficiary?  What if my spouse and I die simultaneously?  Should my will and trust provide that one of us should be considered to have predeceased the other or should we provide that each of us should be considered to have survived the other?     
  • Will LegalZoom be following-up with any funding issues relating to my trust?  Will LegalZoom explain the consequences of beneficiary designations on life insurance, annuities, and retirement plans?  Should I name my trust as a beneficiary on these?
  • Will LegalZoom inform me if tax or other laws change that may affect my estate plan?
  • Will LegalZoom review my documents with me, explain what the provisions mean, revise them to match my goals, and make sure I follow all the signing requirements under state law?
  • Please google these terms: “LegalZoom” + “Ripoff Report”.

 

Why in the world would you risk saving a few hundred dollars now, for the potential of either buying something that is not what you wanted, or something that will cost many thousands of dollars later?  An average modest estate in San Diego is likely $500,000 and only goes up from there.  Don’t gamble here.  Save that for the weekend in Vegas if you like!

 

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. 

 

 

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.

 

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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.

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

 

Can’t I Put my Kids Names on Everything to Avoid Probate?

 

Do I need a Living Trust?  Can’t I use beneficiary designations to avoid probate?  Well, some people don’t need a Trust because their estate is fairly modest.  For example, for those whose estate is less than $150,000, a Trust may not be necessary.  This is especially true for those that do not own real property.  The heirs of those with assets less than $150,000 can take advantage of California’s affidavit process and avoid probate. 

 

Many things a person owns should not be put into a Trust in order to avoid a taxable event such as IRA and other retirement accounts.  These assets are best handled by contacting the plan administrator and designating who should have the asset on your passing.  This is a called making a beneficiary designation.  Other assets like bank accounts, life insurance and cars can be put in your kids or spouses name to avoid probate.

 

Where things get sticky is when we discuss real property and probate avoidance.  For married couples that own a community property home, title can be held in such a manner that the property will automatically pass to the surviving spouse upon the first to die.  Community Property with Right of Survivorship is one way to accomplish this.  The other title designation that can pass property upon the first to die is Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship.  The problem with stopping the analysis here and determining that no Living Trust is needed is the possibility of simultaneous death of both spouses.  Another reason to consider a Revocable Trust is incapacity of one or both spouses.  A Trust allows a successor trustee to manage the property and affairs of the Settlor (the person that creates a Living Trust is called a Settlor or Trustor) should they lose capacity due to Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia. 

 

 

The most important reason to create a Trust and not put your kids name on the title to your home is that:

  • Putting your kids on the title could also trigger Capital Gains Tax
  • Putting your kids on the title to your house will likely trigger a gift tax
  • Putting your child on the deed to your home makes them a co-owner of the home, and now you must have their consent to sell or re-finance your own home.
  • Inheritance by your child’s heirs is also a possibility which means that if your child dies before you do, you may co-own the home with someone you never considered.
  • Putting your kid on the title to the home also creates exposure of your home to your child’s creditors.  This means if the child gets sued, or has tax problems, or the like, the house may be used to satisfy the obligation.

 

So you see that the cost of a Revocable Living Trust is far more affordable, and a superior method to manage your estate and affairs.  Call me today and we can start planning.

 

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

 

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.

 

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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.

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Should I Put my Out-of-State Property in my California Trust?

 

We have discussed the benefits of a Revocable Living Trust elsewhere in my Blog, but to recap, the most important reasons are to:

  • Avoid the cost and delay of Probate (probate is the judicial proceeding that resolves all of the decedent’s claims and distributes his or her property)

  • Provide for management of assets and the estate should the person creating the Living Trust become incapacitated

  • To protect the beneficiary

  • Provide more privacy than a Will

  • Better tax and gift planning

 

After a Revocable Trust has been created it must be “funded”.  This is simply the process of titling certain property in the name of the Trust so that the Trust can do its job.  The most obvious item that goes into the trust is your home.  But what if you own out-of-state property?  Your out-of-state real estate should also be put into the trust, and a deed should be prepared by an attorney that is licensed in that state.  This (depending on the law of that particular state) should avoid ancillary probate in that state.  Such is the case in California – an out-of-state trust that holds a properly transferred California property will avoid California Probate proceedings.  If the out-of-state real estate is not put into a California trust, then the real estate would have to be probated in its home state which can cause additional delay and cost.

 

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

 

I would love to help you create your estate plan and help you provide the kind of gift that you want to give to your beneficiaries.  Call me today and we can get it done!

 

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

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.

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

Do I need a Living Trust?

 

You may be thinking “do I really need a Will or Trust?” Well, if you don’t do any estate planning, then the state of California decides what happens to your property. I don’t find this outcome very palatable. Also, this result is called “probate” and is costly and time consuming. Please see my Blogs on Probate for more information.

 

So let me ask you a question – what if something were to happen to you today? That would likely have a negative impact on your family. Well, with no plan, your kids or closest family member would get all or most of your estate. Let me ask you another question – if your kids got most or all of your estate all at once, would they be responsible with the property, or would they squander the inheritance? Even if they were responsible, would they spend the inheritance in the manner you wished? For that matter, do you want to make any other gifts to friends, other family, or charities? These are some of the reasons why estate planning is important. It’s not fun to think about, but we might meet our end at any time. Because of this, it is important for us to plan.

 

Discussing your wishes with an estate planning attorney is the beginning of the process. For example, I spend time and careful attention to you, ask important questions, determine any potential problems, and provide solutions to achieve your goals.

 

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

 

It has been said that the best investment you can make is in yourself. Investing in an Estate Plan provides a level of comfort in knowing how your property will be handled in the event you become incapacitated, and ultimately upon your passing. Also, a proper estate plan can provide a level of protection for your beneficiaries from creditors, predators, bad marriages and the like. I would love to help you get your estate plan completed. Call me now, and let’s start planning!

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

William Daniel Powell

619-980-2297

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

 

 

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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

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.

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Analyzing Clients Needs

 

What is Analysis?

I teach law.  I help students prepare for both law school exams and the California bar exam.  The number one thing I see students struggle with is analysis.  So what exactly is analysis?  A quick Google of the word tells us that it is a “detailed examination of the elements of something, typically as a basis for discussion or interpretation”.  I tell my students that analysis is applying the facts that we are given to the law. 

 

 

Why is Analysis Important?

On a law school exam or the California bar exam, we are given a story – a set of facts.  From these facts, the law student is expected to recognize the relevant issues of the fictional client, identify them, give the rule of law, then (and this is where the points are) provide a proper analysis.  With this analysis the student is to determine if the issue will expose the fictional client to liability.  Why does the California bar exam test potential attorneys this way?  Simple.  Because clients will come into our office, tell us a story, and we are expected to discern what facts raise potential issues, analyze the issues, and determine if these issues affect our real-life clients. 

In many blogs, I have written that my most important job is to listen to my client and provide solutions.  I think this is better stated as “my most important job is to listen to my client, analyze the issues, and provide solutions.”  Knowing what questions to ask is half the job in establishing a plan for one’s estate.  Analyzing the facts given to us by our clients is of the utmost importance because without analysis, we would not know what is important, and what may raise potential problems.  As I have said before, for this reason (among others), I feel that a properly trained estate planning attorney will far outperform a website that simply asks questions and produces documents based on your answers – like LegalZoom. 

 

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

 

If you fail to create an Estate Plan, the state of California will determine how your estate is distributed.  I would rather decide for myself!  I would love to help you get your estate plan completed.  Call now and we can start planning!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

William Daniel Powell

619-980-2297

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

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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

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.

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