Alameda Estate Lawyer
The main reason for undertaking an estate plan is to make sure assets are inherited by the right people, while attracting little tax. The best way to plan for these certainties, namely death and taxes, is through designing an estate plan. Ideally, a lawyer is recommended to help with the planning. An estate planning lawyer will play a large part in ensuring the estate plan is up-to-date and reflects your wishes correctly. Even if you have a few assets, a plan can save your family, friends and other beneficiaries a lot of heartache. Otherwise it can take an incredibly long period to sort out your financial affairs.
Nature of the plan
An estate plan consists of a set of documents that assists to plan for certainties. These documents help avoid the beneficiaries problems upon your death. Many of these problems are hardly thought about during life or often leave people overwhelmed. However, without an estate plan these issues would have to be resolved by the state laws and courts. Therefore, a well prepared estate plan will help decide the best way assets should be shared between the beneficiaries, including who should receive a certain piece of property and how much should go to a charitable organization.
The state law exists to distribute assets regardless of an individual's wish. However, state laws are evoked when someone dies without having written a will. When the state law is evoked, it may surprise you, but not all the assets are given to the surviving spouse. In some states the court award between one-third and one-half of the assets to the surviving spouse. The rest of the assets are then shared between other family members. The state law does not consider personal relationships or a person's preferences. Therefore, a will is the most effective defense against such an indifferent law. It ensures a relatively simple and easy way of passing one's property to other generations. A will allows an individual to direct whether the spouse should inherit the entire estate or which child should get which piece of property or which organization should receive some support.
Estate planning helps with the naming of guardians. This is particularly important if you have minor children who may not be in a position to take care of themselves in the event of the death of both parents. In the event of such a case, the law requires the court to appoint someone who is in a position to take care of the children. Nonetheless, a court's decision on these matters may not be as good as the parent(s) own choice. A will allows couples the fundamental decision to decide who will care for the children without interference from the courts which may not know your children or the needs of your children.
An estate planning lawyer can help individuals create a last will or establish a trust to protect inheritance assets in the event of their death. It is important to select a probate law attorney who listens to your needs and provides sound advice for developing strategies which benefit designated beneficiaries.
Recently, a colleague hired an estate planning lawyer to assist with her terminally-ill mother's estate. Although her mother was not a wealthy woman, she owned a home, automobile and held financial portfolios and life insurance policies.
The estate attorney was referred through her mother's credit union. Considerable family strife existed within the family and her mother wanted to disinherit one of her sons. The estate planner executed a simple will and provided strategies to prevent assets from passing through probate.
Due to the nature of illness, the woman's daughter did not have time to consult with multiple probate law firms. Instead, she was forced to work with an asset protection attorney who had no prior knowledge of her mother, family dynamics, or how she intended to distribute inheritance assets.
The credit union closed their estate planning division due to budget cuts. The daughter was not informed of this and only discovered she no longer had a lawyer for probate after her mother passed away. This created chaos for the daughter who was designated as the probate executor.
To make matters worse, the estate administrator resided in another state. She was forced to locate a new probate litigation attorney just days before returning home. During their meeting, the man expressed no interest in her mother's estate and was unable to provide advice on how to protect her mother's Will from being contested by the disinherited son.
Fortunately, she was well-versed in estate planning and had taken steps to obtain asset protection. Because the remainder of the estate was small, the Administrator was able to avoid probate and settle her mother's estate within a few months.
This goes to show things can go dreadfully wrong when estate planning is put off until a person is terminally ill. Many unwanted issues can arise when trusts and estates are executed during the final weeks of a person's life.
This is of importance when executing a last will and testament and distributing assets amongst dysfunctional families. When probate estate planning is conducted in the final stages of life, disinherited heirs can contest the will by claiming the decedent was not of sound mine or under the influence of another's persuasion. When Wills are contested, estates can be suspended in probate for months or years and potentially bankrupt the estate.
Estate and trust planning should be initiated while you are in good health. Hiring an estate planning Alameda probate attorney lawyer ensures your final wishes will be followed when you die. It also eliminates stress from the appointed probate personal representative.
To find estate planning probate lawyers visit the American Bar Association website, seek out lawyer referral networks, or browse local telephone directories. Interview a minimum of four lawyers. Ask for referrals and follow-up.
In order to protect assets and prevent family squabbles and misunderstandings after a person's death, a solid plan should be in place. To help with the complex legal issues that are involved, an estate planning attorney can offer their expertise and guidance. What is the best way to go about setting up this plan? Here are some tips:
- Know the components of a good plan. These components include a will, a power of attorney given to a trustworthy family member, and a living will that deals with medical issues should incapacitation occur. Every state has differing laws regarding these components. This is one area where legal advice is crucial.
- The will is an important document. This document spells out who gets what in terms of assets. It also names guardians of minor children. If there is no will, the situation can become a major headache for family members and heirs and an expensive one at that. With a bit of forethought and the help of a lawyer, a well thought out will can assure that assets go to the proper heirs without questions or quarrels.
- Size up assets beforehand. Assets include property such as land, real estate, vehicles, furnishings, jewelry and other family heirlooms. If there are business holdings, their divvying up should be pondered as well.
- Trusts may be a possibility. Not everyone knows what trusts are and may assume they are just something that the extremely rich have access to. This isn't true. Trusts are legal items that specify how assets will be doled out after a party is deceased. They can be protective devices against creditors, lawsuits and probate problems. Taxes may be reduced to heirs with trusts, as well.
- Many people choose to leave all of their money to their husbands or wives but this isn't always the wisest idea. Leaving some to children in the will may save taxes and hassle later. An attorney will help to devise the most advantageous estate plan possible.
- Charities contributions are another consideration. Many people have favorite charity organizations that could greatly benefit from generous cash injections. Examples include humane shelters for animals, Habitat for Humanity and a slew of others. Donating to charity can help to alleviate taxes, as well.
With the advice of a reputable estate planning attorney, financial assets can be distributed properly to loved ones in a manner that will alleviate headaches and strife for the surviving relatives. By planning today, tomorrow will be rosier financially and emotionally for the entire network of heirs.
Looking for a reliable lawyer to help you with estate planning may not be too easy nowadays. Thankfully, you can always tap different resources to be able to avail of professional legal assistance. Here are some ideas you can try in case you are having a hard time with the task of contacting an attorney.
To begin with, one of the most effective ways to find a good lawyer is to ask friends, colleagues or relatives about it. Talk with those you know and ask them to describe their entire experience. You will be able to find out the pros and cons of certain options by doing this. Most people are definitely willing not only to recommend specific lawyers but to give you any warning about some attorneys.
If you have a financial advisor, then that means you have another useful source of relevant information. Advisors usually have the contact details of good lawyers in your area and so you might want to refer to their list.
While on the subject of financial advisors, you also have to know that speaking with them about your estate planning is a good idea. Such a plan is often considered as a crucial part of an individual's financial stability.
Another idea is to ask accountants for recommendations. Besides, it is a fact that many estate planning attorneys rely on accountants when it comes to trust and income tax matters. This only means that an accountant probably knows more than a few lawyers in your area.
Also, feel free to contact other lawyers you have worked with in the past for their suggestions. For example, you may have worked with a legal professional while buying a home or acquiring a property. Chances are high that they personally know someone who specializes in the field and you can take advantage of that.
You may also try doing searches on your own by utilizing the internet. You can check out official websites of different law firms and see if they offer estate planning services. What's great about accessing such sites is that you will also get the chance to view the profiles of the lawyers along with information regarding their rates. This provides you with a good overview of what to expect when you finally begin working with a lawyer.
In no time, you will be able to find an excellent estate planning lawyer that will help you with your needs.
Legacy & Estate Planning allows clients to address their values, finances and legacy plan progress. For most professionals and entrepreneurs the importance of proper estate planning need not be stressed. When you hear the term estate, it refers to everything that you have worked hard to accumulate. Your home, real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, cars, life insurance, business interests, artwork and jewelry. Without proper planning and based on the amount of total assets that you own there could be a hefty tax bill to upwards of 55%. Additionally, your beneficiaries may also be delayed and inconvenienced with all of the requirements in settling your estate.
When you arrive at the important decision to hire an estate planner you want the best for your family. You will have to consider if you want a traditional estate planner who only focuses on the hard numbers and physical assets or would you prefer a holistic counselor who also incorporates legacy development and planning into the process. Conscientious adults make an effort to bank with the best, invest with the best and associate with the best. When seeking to hire a planner the qualities you need to look for include the following.
The sensitivity of your personal financial matters dictates that you need to have a high level of trust in the counselor who assists you with planning. Most high net worth individuals utilize a team approach that includes their accountant, their financial advisor and an estate planning attorney. Each of these professionals typically are competent and knowledgeable and have earned the clients trust over time and through reputation. The importance of using the team is that most already have these separate advisors in place, in order to keep an orderly ship, communication and collaboration is stressed so that all goals can be working simultaneously toward similar objectives. A separate approach often leads to undesired inefficiencies.
You should hire an estate planning lawyer that is highly professional. Your estate planning lawyer should be a recognized leader in his or her field and typically hold a special certification or advanced legal degree. In many instances your estate planning lawyer will be standing in your shoes as a professional representative of your interests and affairs. It is important that such an important representative properly represent your family's good will and precious resources. If you have a complicated situation or lots of assets, choose someone experienced with complex situations and issues so they will always be a shining reflection of your initial decision to hire them in the first place.
Since estate planning will deal with all or most of your assets, you should hire an estate planning lawyer that is reliable and ethical. This fact can be checked by asking the lawyer if anyone has ever filed a complaint against them in the past. Most will answer honestly, but it is a question of ethics so one should always stay alert. An ethical estate planning lawyer should consider all your needs and best interests above everything else. An ethical planner will always provide sound and legal advice and never recommend faddish or illegal scams to save or hide money.
Commitment to a high standard of quality is a good characteristic in an estate planning attorney. Your planner should provide a warm and courteous environment that fosters a sense of security and accomplishment. Attention to the smallest detail in addressing every last issue in your legacy and estate planning process is the trademark of and excellent planning institution. Your planner is willing to stay until the job is complete and will not have problems working with your investment advisor, accountant and insurance professional. In the most productive relationships your planner is a multi-generational partner who will work with you side-by-side through a process that at times can be long and arduous, but is made simple and enjoyable due to their enthusiasm and pride in their work.
In my estate planning practice, it is not uncommon to meet with a new client who wants an estate plan prepared, but is a bit vague as to what should be included in that plan. Quite frequently, the initial conversation begins with the client saying something like, "I would like a will... or should I have a trust? Do I need anything else?" Actually, those are good questions to begin a discussion.
Most folks recognize that their estate plan should provide for the distribution of their assets upon their death. That, of course, is an essential element of an estate plan, but there is more to consider in a well-designed plan. Prior to meeting with your attorney for the first time you should also be thinking about such things as who you want to handle your affairs should you become incapacitated; whether you would want your doctor to keep you alive should you be near the point of death with little chance of recovery; who you want to have the authority to sign important legal papers for you if you are unavailable; and, who you would want to raise your children if you suddenly die. There is a wide variety of personal circumstances which impact estate planning, but let me offer the following as items you should consider even before you meet with a lawyer to discuss your own estate plan.
Should I have a will or a trust?
This is typically among the first questions posed by clients during an initial meeting. Many are aware that a trust will avoid probate, but that is true only if the trust is properly funded, meaning that all of their assets are transferred into the trust. Not every estate plan needs a trust, however, and it may not be necessary for you to incur the additional cost of having your lawyer prepare a trust, when a will is suitable for your needs. And, contrary to what some folks think, having a trust does not avoid estate taxes.
A trust may be the right choice for you, if it is unlikely that you will acquire more assets in the years ahead. What can often happen, however, is that folks will have a trust established and thereafter acquire new assets that they neglect to place in the trust. Then when they die the assets outside of the trust have to go through probate which defeats the intent of establishing a trust in the first place. So, before deciding upon a trust as the main element of your own estate plan, take some time to consider your future investment plans and major acquisitions.
There are some other advantages to a trust, which might make it the right choice for you. For example, should you become incapacitated, your trustee will be able to step in and manage your assets without having to seek a court appointed conservator. In that sense, a trust document is more all-encompassing and flexible than an ordinary will.
What else should I consider in my estate plan?
Estate planning isn't just about deciding who gets your wealth when you die. It is also about making decisions as to what you want to happen should you become seriously ill or incapacitated.
Every estate plan should include an advance directive, which used to be called a living will. This document allows you to appoint a health care representative to make health care decisions for you, including end of life decisions, when you are unable to do so.
Similarly, we recommend that you give a durable power of attorney to a family member or trusted friend in order to allow your appointed agent to manage your financial and business affairs when you are unavailable or otherwise incapacitated. A durable power of attorney remains in effect so long as you are alive and should provide that it will be effective even in the event of your incapacity.
What about my bank accounts, life insurance and investment accounts?
Careful estate planning should include a review of all of your assets, including checking the beneficiary designations you have listed in your retirement plan and in regard to your investment and bank accounts. With such beneficiary designations, these assets will be transferred outside of the probate process to those persons you have previously designated as beneficiaries on these accounts. It is important that you review your beneficiary designations to ensure that your choice of beneficiaries is in accordance with your current intentions as to disposition of your estate.
A thorough review of your portfolio and consideration of the issues described above before meeting with your estate planning attorney will allow you to realize the maximum benefit from your meeting. It will also help your attorney to focus his or her discussion with you on aspects of the process that are most relevant to your goals and needs.
If you have several properties and assets under your name, it is best to consider planning and organizing them with the help of an estate planning lawyer. To you it may still be early to think of your family's future, particularly your children. But no one really knows what will happen, so it is best to prepare ahead to prevent issues and possible parties to take advantage of the situation.
Putting your assets, such as real estate properties, in place as early as now will ensure peace of mind for both you and your family. Establishing a will is also important if you have already stopped working and enjoying your retirement years. Your will can be prepared with the help of your attorney who can draft the necessary conditions and allocations based on your decisions. The tedious paperwork can be accomplished seamlessly by a professional lawyer who specializes in estate planning. By getting in touch with someone whose caliber is accounted for by many of his clients can surely help you in achieving your desired goals for the future.
Handling of your personal property can be easily said than done. An estate planning lawyer can give you the best options on how to handle your money, estate, and other assets. In fact, you can make specific rules on how and who will handle your valuable assets during your golden years and beyond. You may have stored your property documents within a trust, but you will need to grant them to your beneficiaries. The early you plan and accomplish all of these, the better for your assets.
In the case of divorce, an estate planning attorney can help draft the necessary actions as to where your money should go and who should benefit from it after the split. More often than not, some couples forget about the importance of keeping their assets for their children because all they want is to get their share of assets once the marriage is over.
Preparing for your golden years and having a proper attorney at hand can make things easier for you, especially when the time comes when you are no longer around to specifically entrust and designate your properties and assets. This can also help your family, especially your children, during your absence and their vulnerability. This can give everyone peace of mind and clarity when the right time comes.
By definition, a real estate planning lawyer is an attorney who gives legal advice to clients who own assets that need to be managed during their incapacity or death. This includes the granting or release of these assets to heirs, and the payment of corresponding estate taxes to the state.
Basic Responsibilities of Estate Law Attorneys
Estate planning attorneys are responsible for the determination of specific distribution of their client's estate to their heirs. They are also the most knowledgeable people who can give advice to clients who plan to set up a trust where assets are saved and reserved for a specific beneficiary. These law practitioners draft wills and other documents that revolve around trusts and estate planning.
Aside from taking care of estate plans and trusts, estate planning lawyers are the best persons who can give insights regarding retirement plans and life insurance laws. They also settle trusts, real estate plans, wills, and related deeds that need court litigation.
An effective estate law attorney is one who has a detailed knowledge of property, trust, wills, and state and federal tax laws.
Actually, there are two kinds of estate law attorneys, the litigation real estate attorney and the transactional real estate attorney. Transactional attorneys work on the preparation of documents, review of the documents and negotiate terms, and perform other tasks to get things done on behalf of their clients. The litigation attorney on the other hand, works to resolve in the court of law, real estate transactions that have legal impediments.
What is Real Estate?
Real estate refers to a person's assets, property or holdings. It is deemed as a person's net worth at any given time, minus his liabilities. It is important to engage the services of an estate planning lawyer in the disposal or distribution of his estates because it makes the process more systematic and it helps to increase the estate value by way of reduced taxes and other expenses.
Probate is the first and primary step in the legal procedure of managing a deceased person's estate. It is the process of validating and approving a person's will through the probate court. It makes the will a legal document which can be enforced.
These are the most basic facts regarding real estate and estate planning lawyers. These will be your first step should you want to establish a trust or find a lawyer to work for the distribution of your estate.
Are you about to consider estate planning? What is estate planning by the way? Estate planning is the process of organizing the distribution of one's assets to their heirs or beneficiaries. This is especially considered when an individual wishes to provide legal rights of his or her property in the event that he or she dies. Family members, friends, business partners or even an anonymous third party person can be entitled to become an heir or a beneficiary.
There are things that are important for the success of estate planning. One thing involve in this undertaking is the search for the best estate planning lawyer. Consulting an estate-planning lawyer entails not only with manufacturing a will but also ensuring that the client's requests regarding his or her property distribution would be granted upon death.
Furthermore, an estate-planning lawyer will do more than just establishing a client's legal will because in the process of doing so, he or she must also be adept at minimizing taxes and fees associated with personal or real property. A contingency plan should also be set up in case unwanted events like family or legal disputes arise. Other aspects that an estate-planning lawyer will deal with involve trusts, uniform probate code, gift tax, dynasty trust as well as joint tenancy.
Besides just giving assistance to an individual's will, an estate-planning lawyer can also help you with organizing any personal or business records like brokerage accounts, retirement plans, savings accounts, checking accounts, insurance, business interests, and even debt personal property. Any miscellaneous legal planning involved in the process of planning an estate is a concern and part of the duty of an employed estate-planning lawyer.
Now, when you look for an estate-planning lawyer you must consider first of all his or her educational background and work experience. The best estate-planning lawyer must be very educated and experienced particularly in the field of estate planning and strategies. It is imperative that your estate-planning lawyer is familiar with state laws since each state has varying laws when it comes to wealth distribution. Moreover, he or she must have excellent knowledge on how to get rid of excessive probate or estate tax while keeping himself or herself up to date with the ever-changing tax and estate laws.
Of course, when choosing a qualified estate-planning lawyer, consider one that possesses a strong record. Determine by asking how long they have been specializing in estate planning. Search for one that has license to practice law in your state of residence. Actually, you can search for one by asking referrals from your close family and friends.
Estate Planning Lawyers are those who assist others in creating the last will. Not only that, the estate planning lawyers also help to establish a trust in the event of death of an individual by protecting the assets of inheritance. When you are preparing a will, it is really important and necessary to take help from a probate law attorney as they will listen to your needs and preferences and will provide you with helpful advices so that you can develop strategies which will help you in estate planning accordingly and will benefit the selected beneficiaries.
An estate planning lawyer can assist those who need to create a will. For example, if you have an ailing parent or a relative, you can take help from the estate planning attorneys. Even though your family might not be super wealthy and might not have a mansion, the attorneys can help you and the individual making the will in so many ways. They can help an individual by looking at all kinds of assets you have, your house, your auto mobiles, your financial portfolios, life insurance policies and so forth. According to the wish of the individual taking the service, the attorney can help the individual to disinherit one of the heirs by taking all kinds of strategies so that the certain asset or assets cannot be passed on to that certain person. Also, when individuals are mentioned in a will to inherit the assets, the attorneys work their best so that the mentioned individuals get what they have inherited through the will without much problem. However, when you are taking help from estate planning lawyers, make sure that you talk with them about everything. It is often seen then when the will creator passes away, chaos is born due to all the misunderstandings and stuffs. Therefore you should take precautionary steps even before the will is created and convey every detail to the lawyer and discuss about it thoroughly.
When the planning of estate is done in final stages, it should be initiated when the individual is in good health or the disinherited individuals might contest for their share of inheritance. If you really want to make sure that your final wishes are followed through and through, take help from lawyers who are well adept in planning of estates. It is because they will help you to ensure that your final wishes about who will inherit what will be followed as your wish when you pass away.
They can help you create your will without any mistake. Precision has to be maintained as one missing initial, name or a word that has been misconstrued can change the complete document of the inheritance of your estate. As the laws maintaining the passing of assets and estates are technical, you will have to take help from the lawyers who specialize in planning of estates. Be sure to check what you state requires as these laws vary from one state to another. One minuscule mistake can make the documents that you have created to be void and null and therefore you have to make thorough arrangements with your estate lawyer to make sure that everything is right.