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A good estate plan considers all phases of your life:
while you’re alive, if you become disabled and after you die.
IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING AHEAD FOR YOUR ESTATE
Plan Your Family's Future
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Because there is no way of telling what will happen in the future, it is best to go through life being prepared. If you would like to be proactive and take steps that can help protect you and your loved ones down the road, it is in your best interests to consult an estate planning attorney as soon as possible.
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Estate Planning in its simplest form is nothing more than a decision on how your home, bank accounts and other assets will be passed to your heirs following your death.
When preparing an Estate Plan for our clients, we normally provide a series of documents which include aWill,Advance Health Care Directive and a Power of Attorney. If you have also decided to have aTrustprepared, the Trust will be added to this package.
An Estate Plan is prepared while the client is alive and in good mental health. If you are dealing with a death, please call right away or see the sections of this website which deal withProbate and Administration of Trusts.
The basic purpose of Estate Planning is to make sure that your assets are transferred to the people you intended to receive them. There are three basic methods of transferring your assets to your heirs after your death. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks.
The easiest way to transfer your assets is by using some form of joint tenancy. In a joint tenancy, your assets are held jointly between you and your heirs. The example that comes to most people’s mind is a bank account held in two names or real property held in “joint tenancy.” One of the risks of joint tenancy is the fact that you are effectively giving title, and control, of your assets to someone else, before you have died. It is generally better to retain ownership of your home and other assets and to transfer those assets after death through a Will or Trust as referenced below.
The second method of transferring your assets upon death is through the use of a Will. A Will is a document that tells the court how you would like your assets transferred upon your death. The advantage of a Will is that you keep title to all of your assets for life and the Will then provides an enforceable method of transferring your assets after death. The disadvantage of a Will is that it will normally go through a Court supervised Probate before your assets can be transferred to your heirs.
The last method of transferring assets upon death is through the use of aTrust. A Trust provides tax advantages that are not available when using a joint tenancy and allows your estate to pass to your heirs without the supervision of the Superior Court. A Trust also has a great deal of flexibility and allows spouses to leave their property to one another or to split the estate upon the death of the first spouse.
Choosing one of these methods of Estate Planning is the first thing we review with our clients. Our goal is to provide our clients a balanced approach to protecting their assets during their life time and then to facilitate the transfer of those assets to the clients heirs.
When preparing an Estate Plan, you will also need a two additional and very important documents: anAdvance Health Care Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney for Finance. These documents will identify people you trust and grant them the power to make health care and financial decisions on your behalf, but subject to any terms and restrictions you believe are appropriate.
Randal P. Hannah
Attorney at Law
489 N. Central Ave.
Upland California 91786
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.