Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Estate Planning

Estate Planning Services:

  • Wills, POA, Advance Health Care Directive
  • Revocable Living Trust
  • QTIP, QDOT Trust
  • A/B, Bypass Trust
  • QPRT
  • Charitable Remainder Trust
  • GST Exemption Trust
  • ILIT
  • Business Succession Planning
  • Gifting Strategies for Estate Tax Reduction
  • Pet Trust

What is an estate plan and why do you need one?

Outside of having just a will, an estate plan takes into consideration federal/state law and tax considerations when assets are distributed upon a person’s death.  It is a planning procedure that may be as simple as signing a will, or it might be more complicated with living trusts, QTIP trusts, charitable remainder trusts, life insurance trusts, and other methods of avoiding probate and reducing taxes after death.

If you don’t have an estate plan, your assets will pass according to the state’s laws of intestate succession
.  In other words, there are state laws that determine who will receive your estate, regardless of your wishes.  To make sure that you make the decisions about the distribution of your estate, you need a will and/or a trust.

In California, if your total estate is under $100,000, a Will may be all that you need to make sure your assets are distributed accordingly.  But an advance health care directive and a power of attorney are also necessary documents in case you are ever incapacitated and cannot make health care or financial decisions on your own.  It is important to execute these documents while you still have the mental capacity to do so.  Once you are mentally unable to make your own decisions, these documents cannot be drafted, and the only way for a loved one to make decisions on your behalf is through a court order (a very expensive and time consuming process).

On the other hand, if your estate is more than $100,000, you can avoid probate and federal estate taxes and plan for incapacity with a comprehensive estate plan.  A simple Will does not avoid probate (which can be very costly), and won’t help to reduce federal estate taxes.

We can develop a custom-tailored estate plan for you and your family.

We offer flat-fee pricing for the majority of our estate plans.  For more complicated estates which may require sophisticated tax planning, multiple trusts, involve disinheritance issues, capacity issues, etc. we offer value-based billing which is a combination of our flat rate and hourly rate.