Estate planning refers to the tools and strategies used to preserve your wealth during your lifetime and distribute your wealth to your loved ones upon your passing. Comprehensive estate planning is the foundation for your peace of mind and your family’s future. It is used to avoid the extremely expensive and time-consuming probate process, which can take anywhere from six months to a couple of years before your beneficiaries receive their inheritance.
Estate planning resolves the distribution of your wealth and minimizes the tax liability on the wealth transfers. Estate planning also answers such important questions of what medical decisions should be made if you are incapacitated due to an accident or a sudden illness, and who will take care of your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself.
San Diego Tax Law Group provides a full range of estate planning services including the following.
A stand alone will is the simplest of estate planning tools and is generally only appropriate to the individuals whose aggregate assets are less than $150,000.
A simple will alone will not protect your estate from probate. The only way to ensure that your beneficiaries will receive their inheritance without having to deal with the arduous probate process is to have a pour – over will accompanied by a trust. The pour-over will ensures that all of the assets not titled in the name of your trust go into trust after your passing.
In simple terms, a living trust is a document that names your beneficiaries and details the ways in which they will receive the inheritance. Instead of holding the assets in your own name, you place them into a trust for your use during your lifetime.
The most important reason for the living trust is to shield your estate from the long and costly process of probate, which allows the State of California to name your beneficiaries and decide how they will inherit your wealth. Trusts do not require probate, and upon your passing, the assets are automatically transferred to the designated beneficiary.
Living trusts are also effective at avoiding conservatorship proceedings in the event you become physically or mentally incompetent.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a document that allows you to authorize another person to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. “Durable” means that the authorization remains effective even if you become mentally incompetent.
If something happens to you suddenly and you’re unable to pay your bills and manage your affairs, you may trust the person designated in the power of attorney to access your bank account and make phone calls to your service providers. However, without a power of attorney in place, businesses and financial institutions are legally barred from accepting instructions from anyone but you directly.
Advanced Health Care Directive, also known as a living will or personal directive, is a document that sets out your wishes for medical care and treatment in the event that you are unable to communicate with your doctors. The Directive helps to avoid contentious family debates over what you would have wanted and who should be the one to work with your medical team.
If you have assets in multiple countries, estate planning can be incredibly complex. The estate laws of each country where property is held apply to that property, and accounting for and proportionally dividing estates across borders requires careful planning.
Contact San Diego Tax Law Group today to get help creating or updating estate planning documents.
“Milda, I cannot thank you enough, my children and I feel blessed to have you to help us out when our life’s is falling apart. You’re giving us hope and a peace of mind, thank you.”
– Maria B.
“The Best! Milda Goeriz is an example of what the perfect attorney is. Extremely knowledgeable, informative, courteous and quick with results. Her performance with my estate plan was stellar. I highly recommend her to anyone who is in need of an estate planning attorney.”
– Marc C., Estate Planning Client