Estate Planning

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Caregivers, You’re Not Planning Just for Yourself

Caregivers, You’re Not Planning Just for Yourself

As a caregiver, you spend much of your time, money, and energy taking care of the needs of others. Those in southern California who have taken on the role of caregivers for ill or disabled spouses, aging parents, children, or other loved ones with special needs are amazing , giving and selfless individuals who too often do not stop to consider their own needs.

Your job as a caregiver is invaluable, but it may exact a heavy toll if you do not seek out the help of others. We want you to know that you are not alone: There are resources available throughout San Diego County that can make your job as a caregiver easier. It is important to seek out the emotional support of others, either family members or other caregivers, who can understand and empathize with both the rewards and the physical, emotional, and financial burdens associated with caregiving.

Read more . . .

Friday, June 29, 2018

Boomer Tastes are Impacting Senior Living

The baby boom generation is changing senior living.  Just as restaurants and grocery stores have need to change to satisfy boomer tastes so are living communities and senior services.  More options are available now than ever before. Medical and technological advancements are allowing service providers to make available more customized care.  This is leading the way for seniors to age more securely and comfortably.

Read more . . .

Friday, May 18, 2018

Is your Date Night Plan Good Enough?

Is your Date Night Plan Good Enough?

Picture thisyou get an opportunity to spend some alone time with your spouse.  Your mother-in-law will be watching the kids, at your house.  You have carefully written down when to feed the baby, how often the little one usually needs his diapers changed, what snacks are allowed for the older kids, when they should be in bed…and you make certain they have both of your cell phone numbers ready at hand…you get the idea.


It could be a small storm – your oldest gets a large metal splinter in his hand.

Read more . . .

Monday, April 16, 2018

Make Your Medical Wishes Known for National Healthcare Decisions Day

National Healthcare Decisions Day is on April 16th, and it’s an important reminder for every San Diegan to begin having difficult conversations with loved ones about their most private wishes for medical and end-of-life care.

Far too many people assume that their families would make the choices they would want in an emergency. Yet everyday we hear stories of adult children, siblings or other relatives battling during a health care crisis over “what their loved one would have wanted” in that situation.

Read more . . .

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Don't let the life insurance that covers your spouse or parent get away!

Do you know what life insurance policies cover your spouse or parent? Few of us can remember like an elephant. Many years ago, when someone came to our firm for help after their spouse or family member died, we would follow procedures offered by a large life insurance database to check and see whether there was any life insurance on the life of the person who had died. Using this database, we regularly found life insurance benefits for surviving family members. Then the insurance industry group that offered the database went away.

Read more . . .

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Don’t Ruin Your Life vs. Don’t Put Me in a Nursing Home

Families deal with aging in different ways. We all hope that, if we are struck by Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s or another Dementia, our spouses and our children will be willing to step up and be there for us.  At the same time, many of us are torn between our desire to be taken care of by our own family and the realization that if our spouse or children take care of us, the caretaking will takeover their lives.  Our instinct is to protect them, even in the face of our own needs.  According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP over 65.7 million people take care of someone who is ill, disabled or aged in the U.S. without compensation.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

40 Percent Of Baby Boomers Run With Scissors

40% of Baby Boomers Run With Scissors

New clients, visiting my office in San Diego, are often embarrassed when they admit to me that they don’t have, a will or trust or that it’s been a long time since they updated their estate planning documents.  For years I’ve told them that they are in good company; maybe I should have said bad company?

Unfortunately, an amazing number of smart people seem to put planning for how their assets will be deployed after they die on the bottom of their to do lists.  Even so, running without a will, running without an estate plan is like running with scissors.  It doesn’t matter until we fall and none of us know when we will fall.

According to AARP nearly 40% of Baby Boomers between 51 and 69 years old, do not have wills or trusts. They are running with scissors.   

AARP also found that Baby Boomer have taught this lesson to their children.  71% of all Americans over the age of 34 are running with scissors. 

You cannot control who will get your assets without taking action. Over the last twenty-six years as an estate planning attorney I’ve seen how proper planning can make a positive difference for families and how the failure to plan can rip families apart and put children and young adults on paths of destruction. 

Your assets are your life’s work, with proper planning they can continue to work for you after you’re gone by providing incentives to guide your children and grandchildren and provide support or a long term nest egg to help your family members be more financially secure.  Prudent deployment of your nest egg has become increasingly important for families in our world where businesses fail, pensions are rare; social security uncertain; and the cost of raising children and the costs of getting help if you are disabled keeps going up.

While doing estate planning right is not cheap, it is always less expensive than the financial and personal cost of dying without plan documents.  For average San Diego home owners choosing to die without a living trust, they have chosen a ten to eighteen month delay as to when their family can receive their inheritance and chosen to pay attorneys’ fees and court expenses of not less than $18,000.  

Money is money and time is time, but subjecting your family to the Probate process is encouraging them to fight. It is in the nature of being in court, where misunderstandings and old wrongs thought left behind become fuel for conflict and legacy consuming attorneys’ fees. The one legacy you don’t want to leave behind is a court battle between your family members.

Make it your New Year’s resolution to call an estate planning attorney today. Call me at (619) 281-1888. I, or one of my staff, will make sure that start 2016 off on the right foot, with no scissors in hand. 


Friday, November 27, 2015

Pre-Planning with a San Diego Elder Lawyer for Nursing Home Care

Pre-Planning with a San Diego Elder Lawyer for Nursing Home Care

One of the more difficult topics that San Diego elder law attorneys and their clients must discuss is the potential need for nursing home care. However, talking about it and knowing the options is actually one of the things that can make things easier. With the help of a good elder care lawyer in San Diego, seniors and their adult children can plan ahead to remove fear and uncertainty about the future.

One of the most compelling reasons for pre-planning nursing home care is the fact that the senior can be thoroughly involved in the process. Far too often, San Diego elder law lawyers work with families where the person in need of care has experienced physical or mental impairments that limit their participation in the planning process.  It is not uncommon for seniors who have had a simple fall, even if they only suffered bumps and bruises, to feel paralyzed when they face the planning process.  Whether overwhelmed by facing a sudden reality that they need to plan, are incapacitated and unable to communicate or their cognitive functions have deteriorated due to dementia or other problems, elderly individuals who wait too long can find that they have a hard time making their true wishes know or perhaps simply cannot make long term care decisions without guidance..

An additional problem that pre-planning solves is that nursing home care is often needed on very short notice, as the result of an unexpected illness or injury. In the midst of a medical crisis, most families would prefer to already have arrangements in place so they can simply focus on treatment, recovery, or long-term care.

Understanding the importance of pre-planning is a great starting point. The next step is to familiarize yourself with some of the conversations you and your elder law attorney should have. For example, a lawyer may talk you, as their client, through the various alternatives to nursing home care in order to determine what is really the best option for you. Instead of a nursing home, it’s possible that you might be better served with in-home care or at an assisted-living facility. An elder lawyer with extensive experience in the San Diego area will also have first-hand knowledge regarding the reputation and levels of care available from various local caregivers and institutions.

The entire process of researching, selecting, applying to, and paying for nursing home care is complex. It’s not something that most people can navigate easily. Pre-planning with an elder law attorney can remove some of the mystery and also gives you the opportunity to compare facilities and negotiate prices. Each of these things gets considerably harder when being done in a rush on the heels of an illness or accident.

The thing to keep in mind is that San Diego elder care lawyers are experienced in focusing on the needs of seniors. From pre-planning for nursing home care to qualifying for Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid plan) to setting up a smart estate plan, elder law attorneys have specific knowledge of the unique planning issues that directly affect our older generation.  A San Diego Elder Law Attorney  can help you and your family anticipate problems and prepare solutions for problems that haven’t even arisen yet!

The Weissler Law Group can help you start or fine tune your planning to prepare for aging and care related issues. Call us at (619) 281-1888

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Preparing your Executor or Trustee for Wills and Trust Administration in San Diego

Wake up and Prepare your Executor or Trustee to Administer your Will or Trust in San Diego

As an individual puts together his or her estate plan, there is a need to really think about how it will be administered. California Wills and trusts administration can be a complex process, although having an estate plan in place is without a doubt one of the best ways to simplify it. Another way to improve the outcome of the administration is to thoroughly prepare your executor or successor Trustee for the job ahead of them.

In California we call executors and successor trustees “Personal Representatives.” In San Diego Personal Representatives are called on to take care of many different details related to administering a will or trust. In order to improve that person’s efficiency and make the most of your estate plan, start by talking with the person you want to perform the job and make sure that he or she is willing and able to do so. It’s possible that you could name someone as the executor of the estate intending it to be an honor, but without briefing them in advance, that person might actually feel like it is a burden or unwanted responsibility. Keep in mind that this doesn’t make the person uncaring, rather, it allows you to name someone who will do the job willingly and well. For many people they just don’t have time in their lives to step into another’s shoes and either wind up their affairs or administer them over an extended period of time.

You can also smooth the process for the executor by actually discussing the contents of your estate plan with him or her, as well as with other family members and friends who will be affected. It’s hard to foresee what kinds of problems could arise during will or trust administration, so laying things out in advance can help avoid surprises later. Family dynamics are an incredibly personal and complicated thing, and the estate plan will likely need to take them into consideration. So, if one family member has a problem with addiction, a grandchild has a disability, or one sibling is substantially wealthier than others, these are all possible reasons a plan might not look the way everyone expected. Your goal of protecting more vulnerable family members could be perceived as unfair by those who don’t ‘need’ the help but feel distributions should be equal. Preparing them, and the executor, can avoid drama later—including but not limited to discouraging someone from trying to contest your will or trust.

Keeping your executor, or successor trustee, apprised of potentially upsetting aspects of the estate plan can help them navigate the will or trust administration later, especially since they will be clear on your intentions and therefore better armed to carry them out. Their abilities can also be bolstered by introducing them to your estate planning lawyer who can help them to really understand what will be expected of them and give them insight into things like taxes, court costs, paying off debt, and so on. With a little guidance up front, family conflicts can be reduced and your will or trust’s administration can run as smoothly as possible.  

At the Weissler Law Group we work to make certain our Clients' wishes are carried out and family conflicts are minimized or avoided.  We can be reached at (619) 281-1888

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Primer from Your San Diego Wills and Trusts Lawyer

A Primer from Your San Diego Wills and Trusts Lawyer

Wills and trusts lawyers in San Diego handle so much more than just the creation of legal documents. One of the most important parts of the job is educating and guiding clients through their options, which often depend on the client’s unique financial and family needs.  Commoditized, standardized, fill in the blank documents almost always fall short of meeting the needs of San Diego families.

Estate planning lawyers use all kinds of strategies to help clients

  • provide for their own needs against the possibility that they will not be able to speak or act for themselves,
  • protect their assets,
  • provide for future generations

Guidance provided by estate planning attorneys can extend beyond the creation of legal documents and structures.  Sometimes it can be about your retirement planning options or might include recommendations regarding life insurance and the best way to hold or pay for it.

All of that being said, when father and mothers in Poway or Pacific Beach think of trusts, they think of estate planning, wills and trusts lawyers.  When grandparents in Otay Lakes or La Mesa think of wills, they think of estate planning, wills and trusts attorneys.  Only an attorney can help utilize wills and trust to provide for your wishes to be followed, when you are unable to voice them yourself, and to protect your assets.

To that end, today’s blog article is a basic introduction to wills and trusts.


Trusts are a great tool for protecting an estate because they provide tax benefits, privacy, and the ability to minimize drawn-out and potentially expensive probate proceedings.  A wills and trusts lawyer can help you create the trust. Trusts offer enormous flexibility in dictating how your assets can be, or should be, handled when you are unable to do so yourself.  Your personal values and goals in providing for others should be reflected in the trust documents you create.  Unrestricted support trusts and lump sum distribution wills and trust too often do harm.  Each of us wants the life’s work to make a difference when we are gone.  Most of my Clients don’t want to leave inheritances to their children or grandchildren in such a way as discourages hard work and achievement. 

Trusts are a hybrid between business entities and contracts.  Modern trusts trace their roots back to the English King, Henry VIII.  Trusts can only affect and control what they own.  Most people use their revocable living trusts like gloves.  All that they own, they hold in their hands through the trust.  When you create your trust, you will be able to choose whose hand should slide into that glove to manage your assets if you are not able to do so.  During your lifetime, revocable trusts are invisible for tax purposes.  This means that any income or loss created by assets within the trust must be reported on your own personal tax return. It is your income.  Likewise, in California, the assets in a revocable living trust remain vulnerable as your assets if you are sued or owe taxes. 

In addition to flexible revocable trusts there are many other available trust uses, like providing protection from your own potential future creditors and shifting growth to the outside of your taxable estate.  There are many trust options available, so it’s best to really go through the options with an estate planning, wills and trust lawyer in San Diego in order to determine what makes the most sense for you and your family.


A will, on the other hand, acts as a set of instructions as to what you wish to have happen when you die.  Wills nominate executors, but those nominated executors have no real power unless they are then appointed to that post by a court proceeding.  This court proceeding, called probate, tightly scrutinizes and exposes to family and public scrutiny, all actions taken by the appointed executor. 

Before living trusts became affordable and the probate process became so expensive and drawn out Wills were the way things were handled.  To avoid the hassle of transferring assets during your lifetime – most trusts were contained within Wills and were given life, and supervised, by the court overseeing the probate. It is now rare for Californians to intentionally pass their assets through a Will.  The costs of administering a will are too high, the process tends to make family members fight, and it takes so long.

Although Probate has become a process to be avoided, Wills still have a place.  They are an excellent tool to use to name who you wish to have as the guardian for your children.  Wills are also an excellent tool which can be used by older married couples to protect assets against a disabled spouse’s disability care costs.

The best way to move forward is to work with a wills and trusts lawyer to develop both a will and one or more trusts. Yes, there are a lot of choices, but a San Diego  wills and trusts lawyer can simplify the entire process for you and offer expert advice to help you develop and implement a solid strategy for the future.

As an aside, wills and trusts are not the only important things you will want to discuss with your lawyer. Your estate plan should also include documents such as powers of attorney and advance medical directives to ensure that your choices for helpers are known should you become incapacitate or disabled. Again, a good San Diego wills and trusts lawyer is a great resource for getting things underway. Please call me for help getting started creating a will, trust or more involved estate plan to protect your family.  Call (619) 281-1888


Friday, October 16, 2015

San Diego Estate Planning Lawyers Recommend Revocable Living Trusts

San Diego Estate Planning Lawyers Recommend Revocable Living Trusts

OK, that title may be a little misleading, as not every estate planning lawyer in San Diego is going to recommend a revocable living trust for every single client. That said, this particular kind of trust is one that is suggested and discussed a whole lot because of all the things it can do for you, your estate and your family. Non-Attorneys often believe that Living Trusts are just to avoid probate when you die. Experienced Lawyers know that isn’t true. These tools not only help get things in order in case you unexpectedly pass away, but also protects your control over your assets should you become incapacitated or even stuck outside of the country.

You Have Access to Your Stuff

San Diego trust lawyers and clients alike appreciate the revocable living trust because it doesn’t get in the way while its owner is living. It doesn’t impede its owners access to money, property, and so on while they are alive and able to express their wishes. All trusts have the same parties involved – a “settlor” who creates the trust and a “trustee” who manages the trust assets on behalf of the “beneficiaries.” The revocable living trust is special because it allows the creators (“settlors”) to name themselves as “trustees” who are able to direct what happens to the assets of the trust. Money can be spent, property can be sold, investments can be made. There aren’t a whole lot of limitations on what the settlors as trustees are allowed to do with trust’s assets. This flexibility extends to any other trustees who the settlors may designate to handle things if they are not able to act as the trust’s Trustee. This is an incredible benefit to make certain your assets are used the way you want them to be used if you are absent, ill or no longer walking the earth.

What “Revocable” Means

Another reason that revocable living trusts are favored is because the grantor retains the ability to make changes to the trust. In fact, they can even end it altogether if desired, i.e., revoke it. This allows the trust to be especially flexible and to change along with the grantor’s circumstances. A brief meeting with their San Diego trust lawyer is usually all that’s required put in place an amendment to modify or terminate the trust.

You Have Control

As the Settlor of a trust you can provide in your trust document for how your assets are to be used during your lifetime and who gets what, when, and with what conditions or stipulations after you pass away. This means that your wishes, whether to provide an incentive for an adult child to take certain actions or to help your children pay for your grandchildren’s piano lessons or summer camp, you can do so through your revocable and amendable living trust.

What Your Assets are Protected From

When an individual, with more than a small amount of assets, passes away without a trust, his or her estate will go through the probate process. This is a totally public process in which assets will be listed for the courts, debts will be made public, your heirs/beneficiaries and their addresses will be made public, and any number of things someone might rather keep private can become public knowledge. Fortunately, assets held in trust are not exposed to this kind of scrutiny.

Privacy isn’t the only issue people have with probate, either. It is generally lengthy, expensive, and sometimes ridiculously complicated. Typical San Diego Probates take from a year to two years to finish before families can receive their inheritances. California Probate fees are based on the gross value of the assets going through the probate. This can make it very pricey. Estate planning lawyers know this and regularly recommend revocable living trusts as ways to circumvent the process. In fact, someone owning property in both California and one or more other states can avoid probate in more than one state at the same time by placing all the properties into the revocable living trust.

A revocable living trust is only one of the many tools a California trust lawyer has at their disposal, but it is undoubtedly a very important one because it directly benefits their clients during their lifetimes and their client’s heirs upon death. If have questions about how a living trust works or whether it makes sense for you, please give me a call at (619) 281-1888.

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The Attorneys of the Weissler Law Group assist clients in San Diego, California as well as in: Coronado, Pacific Beach, Del Mar, Solana Beach, La Jolla, Del Cerro, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Santee, El Cajon, Rancho Bernardo, Poway, Escondido, National City, Spring Valley, and Chula Vista.

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