Fullerton Estate Planning Attorneys
Ensuring a Bright Future for You & Your Family in Fullerton, CA and Bellevue, WA
Setting up an adequate estate plan can serve several important purposes. The first is to make sure your wishes are respected and carried out when you can no longer care for yourself. The other is to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of when you pass away. Two of the main vehicles we use to accomplish these goals are wills and trusts, but there are plenty of other estate planning tools to take advantage of.
At OC Elder Law, our estate planning attorneys in Fullerton and Bellevue, WA can help you establish a comprehensive estate plan that accounts for your unique circumstances. We proudly provide the same guidance and legal power of a large firm, but in a personalized setting that can be tailored to our clients’ needs.
Call us at (800) 220-4205 or book your free 15-minute virtual consultation to learn more about our estate planning services and how our Fullerton estate planning attorney can help you.
What is a Will?
A will is a document that goes into effect once you die. This document is used to decide how your money and property will be distributed. When someone dies with a certified will, a judge will oversee the process of distributing property and assets according to the provisions outlined in the will.
This is known as probate, a process that can be very costly and time-consuming. Due to these circumstances, most people wish to avoid the process of probate by establishing a trust.
What is a Trust?
A trust is a document that allows us to avoid probate and override the state's intestacy laws. This means that you can transfer money and property to your intended beneficiaries without the court’s involvement.
You, the grantor, place property and money into the trust, which can then be divided and distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. This means re-titling your deed and other accounts into your trust’s name. A trustee can then manage these assets until the time comes for them to be divided and distributed.
While you are alive, you will be the trustee over the account. Should you be unable to manage your affairs, a successor trustee that you nominate will take over. When you die, this successor trustee will coordinate the division and distribution of all trust assets to the beneficiaries.
Types of Trusts
There are several different types of trusts that can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
- Asset protection planning
- Tax planning
- Veterans’ benefit planning
- Medi-Cal planning
- Special needs planning
What is Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney – sometimes known as a financial durable power of attorney – is another important estate planning tool. A power of attorney is only effective while you are living. It grants someone else the power to help you manage your financial assets and property. This power can be as broad or as narrow as you see fit.
Other Types of Healthcare Document
While there are a variety of healthcare documents that are important to consider, we typically help clients establish:
- Healthcare power of attorney: This document allows you to award someone with the ability to make decisions regarding your healthcare needs, should you no longer be able to make those decisions yourself. This document can be critical to ensure that your exact wishes are carried out when it comes to receiving the care and treatment you want.
- Advanced healthcare directive: Sometimes referred to as a living will, this document directs the person you choose to oversee your healthcare in certain situations. This document will specifically discuss your wishes on how to receive treatment should you find yourself in an unrecoverable medical state.
- HIPAA release: HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a law that prevents doctors and medical facilities from releasing your medical information. This protection can be waived so that friends and family may speak to the doctors and receive information regarding your care. The people to whom you give this privilege may obtain medical information but will not have the authority to make any decisions regarding your healthcare. That authority will still belong to your nominated healthcare power of attorney.
Why Is Estate Planning Important?
If you are a property owner, your estate and all of your assets may be in jeopardy. You probably want to control how these valuables are distributed to your loved ones. In order to do that, you will need to provide detailed instructions informing of your wishes.
That is an estate plan, and the planning process are detailed instructions of how, when, and what. Estate planning is for everyone, no matter the value of your estate. It is also not just for people who are “retired". Life is unpredictable, and it is best to be prepared for anything.
The estate planning attorneys at OC Elder Law have experience handling a variety of estate planning needs. Let us help give you peace of mind, call us today for a consultation!
What are the Advantages of Estate Planning?
If you are a homeowner, setting up an estate plan will be beneficial to you. Not only will it make sure your family is provided for after your passing, it will also provide you with peace of mind for the future. The benefits of having an estate plan includes:
- Confirming Your Loved Ones Are Taken Care of
- Providing for Your Children
- Cut Down on Your Expenses
- Avoid Probate
- Arrange for Incapacitation
- Asset Conservation
The experienced Fullerton and Bellevue estate planning attorneys at OC Elder Law are here to help guide you through the process of creating an estate plan that caters to your needs. Contact us today to discuss your options and to schedule a consultation.
What Happens if There isn’t a Beneficiary?
If someone dies without a will, a process called Intestate Succession will begin. This process determines the order in which family members are entitled to the assets. Typically your assets can be divided between community property and separate property.
- Community Property: Property that was acquired while you were married.
- Separate Property: Property you had before marriage.
The only exception to this rule is any gifts and inheritances are considered separate property no matter when they were acquired.
What are the Benefits of Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney?
For some folks, estate planning is not a high priority. Some people don’t think they have an estate big enough to warrant an estate plan, while others simply don’t want to confront the unpleasant feelings associated with planning for their death. Furthermore, many people believe they can do their own estate planning with generic forms found online.
Contrary to popular belief, there are many facets to estate planning. While you might think that planning your estate is simply just setting up a last will and testament, it actually scales far beyond that. Our Fullerton and Bellevue estate planning attorneys can help develop a plan to mitigate estate taxes, form a living trust, and make sure your assets are safe from your beneficiaries’ creditors after your death.
We highly recommend retaining an attorney if:
- You have more than one marriage
- You want to donate part of your assets to charity
- You want to mitigate estate tax
Do Only the Very Rich Need Estate Planning Lawyers?
Even if you do not have millions, you can benefit from the advice and experience of a Fullerton estate planning attorney. An experienced attorney stays focused and on top of family dynamics and subtle legalities. He ensures that problems do not arise when carrying out your will. He also ensures that an ex-spouse does not inherit unintended assets and prevents special needs family members from losing out on government benefits due to improper paperwork.
Can a Bank, Brokerage Firm, or Financial Institution Suffice?
If you need help planning your estate financially, the following can help:
- Brokerage firm
- Financial institution
However, they are not qualified to draft legal documents or lend you legal advice.
Estate planning has major links with Medicaid and tax planning when you are planning your finances. An experienced lawyer helps in drafting sound estate plans that are legally sound and account for various unexpected events.
An estate planning attorney offers great assistance in allocating your assets in complicated family and financial situations. The experience and advice they bring to the table can help you in drafting sound wills and testaments. They also ensure that your paperwork is error-free with no loss to any beneficiary regarding government taxes or creditors.
Christian Estate Planning
At OC Elder Law, we are led by our Christian principles and ideals. Our estate planning services embody the morals of the Christian faith.
So what is Christian estate planning? For some, it means nothing. Just knowing that your attorney is coming from the same worldview as you is enough.
For others, it simply means prayer during our meetings. Prayer during the meeting allows God to guide your attorney’s mind to design the ideal for you as a result of prayer.
For others, it may mean altering your legal documents. We can interlace scripture throughout your trust, will, power of attorney, and healthcare documents to guide your family in what is important to you. We want to give them comfort in a time when they are stressed and grieving and make sure they know that you are in a better place.
For those with minor children, it means praying about a guardian for your children. We often look at the financial stability of a guardian to determine if they can care for your children. More importantly, we want to look at the spiritual stability of your guardian. Are they going to raise your children in the way that you raise them?
If you are ready to move forward with your estate planning click here to book your 90-minute planning consultation or call (800) 220-4205 .
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Work with compassionate and experienced Estate and Elder Law attorneys who will help you plan for the unknown and protect your and your loved ones.800-220-4205