What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is not a one-time process, but a lifelong series of tasks that need to be done and updated every time your family and financial situations change.
State laws need to be observed when preparing your estate plan. Jennifer Elliott keeps current on California estate planning laws – California Durable Power of Attorney Laws, California Living Wills Laws, California Wills Laws, and California Euthanasia Laws, that encompass everything from the durable power of an attorney to estate taxes and living wills.
Jennifer Elliott will listen to your wishes, answer your questions, and create a customized plan to suit the needs of your family as well as address these other important concerns:
- Limiting the taxes to be paid at the time of property transfer to your heirs.
- Establishing a guardian for a minor dependent through your Will.
- Instructions for your medical and health care wishes if you become disabled or injured.
- Provide for family members with special needs without disrupting government services.
- Adding and updating the name of beneficiaries on life insurance plans, and retirement plans like 401(k)s.
- Provide for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, or death.
- Minimize taxes, court costs, unnecessary probate fees, and many other tasks.
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Commonly Asked Questions About Estate Planning
Wills and trusts are two parts of estate planning. Together, they give you control over your assets, direct their distribution on your passing, and help you relax by providing peace of mind.
A will is a legal document expressing your instructions about the passing over of your property and money. However, the will doesn’t guarantee the upholding of your wishes after you are deceased as a will can be contested by your relatives or third parties in court when it’s being probated. A will also doesn’t alleviate the problem of taxes. A will also does not avoid the probate process in court.
Trusts are separate from wills and are needed for anyone who owns their home or other real estate. They are also needed in certain other situations. A trust keeps the estate from going through the probate process and also saves taxes. Through trusts, you provide for the people, animals, and organizations you care about.
Estate planning will accomplish the following:
- Ensuring that your property is passed on quickly to your heirs, and with less or no legal hurdles.
- Minimizing the amount of taxes your beneficiary would be liable to pay at the time they receive your money and property after your death.
- Avoiding time and costs associated with the probate process.
- Setting the terms about the kind of medical care you wish to receive should you become disabled and unable to make your wishes known.
- Letting your relatives know about the kind of funeral arrangements you would like, and setting out how related expenses are to be paid.
Estate planning is not just for the ‘retired’ or ‘wealthy’ individual. This is necessary for everyone. Even a single person without real estate still needs a will and powers of attorney. People tend to only think about it as they get older; however it’s important to be prepared for any sudden situation.
Estate planning simplifies the process of transferring property to your heirs with little or no hassle. Nobody wants their relatives and heirs to indulge in a lifelong battle over his/her property. An appropriate estate plan also provides you with peace of mind.
Start today! Nobody knows how long he/she will live, so avoid the risk of your family being caught off-guard and unprepared. Creating an estate plan now will also allow you to keep changing it later as the need arises, which is exactly the way estate planning should be done.
Start with what you can afford! Families or individuals can start with preparing a will, a power of attorney for their financial affairs, and health care directives. As their financial situation improves, they can expand their plans. However, your estate planning must be done under the guidance of an estate planning attorney to ensure your documents are prepared properly.
Start thinking about your future and prepare an estate plan. Jennifer Elliott will help you create an estate plan customized to your needs and financial situation.
Don’t want the court to decide who gets what? Let us prepare your estate plan. Your documents will be drafted to avoid the expense and length of an action in the probate court. This saves money and time for your beneficiaries. Your plan will be customized to your specific family situation and it will follow your wishes. Our documents are never “cut and pasted” from old samples as you will find in some other law offices. Our estate plans are custom drafted and prepared in accordance with your situation and current laws.” Allow us to draft your will and trust so your assets go to your intended beneficiaries. We will also prepare your powers of attorney and health directives to ensure the person you trust will handle your financial affairs and make your health decisions when you cannot.