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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

30 Things Good San Diego Will, Trust, and Estate Lawyers Want You to Know

30 Things Good San Diego

Will, Trust & Estate Lawyers

Want You to Know

Estate planning is a pretty big field, with lots to take into consideration with your lawyer. There are complexities and confusion; but at the end of it all, there’s no doubt that coming up with a solid plan is one of the best paths for retirement, saving, what you are able to leave behind, and—of course— making things easier on your loved ones.

What follows is a list of things that every credible San Diego will and estates lawyer would want you to know. Items range from funeral arrangements to important documentation to life insurance and IRAs. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it does give you a little insight into the complexities of estate planning.  So, here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Trusts aren’t just for wealthy people.
  2. Trust assets don’t go through the probate process and can be put into action right away.
  3. Trusts keep your family business private.
  4. You should share your plans with those they will affect.
  5. Healthcare directives (Advance Directives) and financial powers of attorney are an important part of your estate plan.
  6. Anyone with minor children in California should have an estate planning lawyer draw up standby guardianship papers.
  7. Make sure your family can find your estate plan.
  8. If you die without a will or trust, pretty much every decision is up to the courts—not you!
  9. Wills and trusts can be contested, but it’s not nearly as common as you might think.
  10. There is a very good chance that you will be physically incapacitated before you die.
  11. Family members don’t always think clearly when an estate is being distributed.
  12. Your ex-spouse may be entitled to your assets if you haven’t changed beneficiaries.
  13. There are trusts to provide for everything from your pets to your family’s ability to travel the world.
  14. You can place limitations on how and over what period of time your heirs get to use their inheritance.
  15. A good San Diego will and estate lawyer can save you an unbelievable amount in probate fees, estate, property and income taxes.
  16. You can use life insurance and other means to supply funds for a trust.
  17. Websites that promise do-it-yourself planning kits are pretty much NEVER the answer – they necessarily need to be “one size fits all.”
  18. Family members are not the only people you can choose as the executor of your estate—there are professionals who can do this job.
  19. You can make annual gifts (currently up to $14,000 per person) tax-free while you’re still living – but if you may need long term care soon there are other restrictions that should be observed when making gifts.
  20. There’s a big difference between a “will” and a “living will” (Both are important).
  21. It’s never too early or too late to start your estate planning (But the earlier you start, the better).
  22. Review your estate plan at least once a year.
  23. Review your estate plan after any major life change.
  24. As you age, your estate planning (and other legal) needs will change focus.
  25. Money cannot ordinarily be left to minor children directly.
  26. Make sure your family knows if you’re an organ or tissue donor.
  27. Make funeral arrangements (and cover expenses) a part of your estate plan.
  28. Small business owners need a succession plan
  29. There are many ways that a San Diego will and estate lawyer can help you increase the value of your estate for your heirs (such as stretch payments for IRAs, avoiding taxes with a trust, etc.).
  30. Your estate will be responsible for debts accrued during your lifetime.

If you have questions about any of these items or you are ready to get started creating an estate plan (or updating your existing plan) that takes into account your wishes for your finances, end-of-life affairs and providing for your family, feel free to contact our San Diego will and estate lawyers at (619) 281-1888 to schedule a consultation.

 


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