Estate Planning - Trusts and Wills and Powers of Attorney 1

Why Estate Planning?

The biggest estate planning mistake you can make is to not have an estate plan. This is true if you have a large family, you were recently married or if you have no family at all.  You should plan your estate the same way whether you are a billionaire or if you have limited assets.  I can help you do so efficiently and affordably.

When you develop your estate plan you will preserve your estate for your partner, your loved ones, charitable causes or even your pets. A thoughtful estate plan allows you to maintain control over your assets while you are living and to specifically direct who receives your property after you pass. 

Effective estate planning also enables you to name someone you trust to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf if you later become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions on your own. 

If you die without an estate plan the probate court may appoint an executer to administer the distribution of your assets.  The administer may not be a family member or a trusted confidante and he or she may be entitled to a fee that will diminish your financial estate well before your loved one’s can enjoy it. The court’s decisions will be guided by state law and a statutory system and will not be bound by your wishes. 

If you implement even a simple revocable trust centered plan you may preserve your financial estate and allow your loved ones and beneficiaries to receive their gifts much sooner and cost effectively.  A revocable trust will permit your estate to avoid the costs, time and unpredictability that are built in to the probate process. Estate planning is most effective when it offers control, certainty and cost saving.

I am an attorney and I have been a member in of the California Bar Association since 1999.  However, as a registered and bonded Legal Document Assistant (LDA) I can help you create and implement an estate plan much more cost-effectively.  As an LDA, I can use my education and professional practice to help you ensure that your estate efficiently passes to your loved one’s as you envision.   

I am specifically certified by CALDA and NICEP as an estate planner. I cannot offer legal advice or representation but I can assist you as you draft an estate plan that will implement your wishes so that your loved ones will be less likely to need attorneys after you pass.

Even a simple estate plan can provide all of the benefits explained above and I can help you implement your simple Revocable Living Trust based plan. Simple yet comprehensive estate planning will include a Revocable Living Trust, a Will (or a Pour-Over Will) and two important Powers of Attorney. 

You can learn more bout each of those instruments below:

A Revocable Living Trust is the cornerstone to effective Estate Planning.
Revocable Living Trust and Trust Transfer Deed:

Implementing a revocable living trust as part of your estate planning will enable you to control exactly what happens to your estate after you pass. If your trust is created efficiently your beneficiaries will receive their gifts sooner, you will be better able to control the distribution of your estate, and your estate will not be depleted by the predictable costs incurred during the probate process.

Will/Pour-Over Will:

Although one of the primary benefits of a trust is that it permits you to avoid the time consuming and expensive probate process, if you do not have a large estate you may be able to avoid a probate proceeding even if you execute a will with no trust.  If a trust will be in your best interests a pour-over will is a protective instrument that you can use to leave any property to your trust that was not contributed to your trust when it was created.  

Advance Healthcare Directive and Durable Power of Attorney:

An Advance Healthcare Directive (also called a Living Will) and a Durable Power of Attorney allow you to appoint someone you trust to make financial decisions on your behalf or to explain how you want medical decision to be made if for any reason you are not able to make those decisions on your own behalf.