Estate Planning

Setting up an adequate estate plan can serve several important purposes. The first is to make sure you are taken care of according to your exact wishes 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.

When someone dies without a will or trust, the state of California will typically determine what happens to your money and your property after your death. This is known as intestacy and is something that most people want to avoid if they can. Many people do not trust the state to make these important decisions for them, but fortunately, having these decisions made by the state can be avoided through the establishment of a will or trust.

What's the difference between a will and a trust?

A will is a document that comes into effect once you die. This document is used to decide how your money and property are 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 through the establishment of 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 all of your intended beneficiaries without the involvement of the court. You, the grantor, place property and money into a trust, which can then be divided and distributed according to your wishes after you die. This means re-titling your deed and other accounts into your trusts 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 no longer be able 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.

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There are also several different types of trusts that can be used for a variety of different purposes. These purposes can range from asset protection planning, tax planning, veterans benefit planning, Medi-Cal planning, and special needs planning. The Estate planning experts at OC Elder Law can help you create a comprehensive solution to provide for the needs of you and your family using innovative strategies that fit your unique situation. If this involves a trust, we'll walk you through the steps in an easily digestible way so that you can accomplish your goals and protect the future for you and your family.

Power of Attorney and Other Healthcare Documents

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, and it grants someone else the ability to help you manage your financial assets and property. This power can be as broad or as narrow as you see fit.

Establishing important healthcare documents are another critical piece of your estate plan. While there are a variety of different documents that are important to consider, we typically help clients establish the following:

  • 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 - This is sometimes referred to as a living will, and this document directs the person you choose to be in charge of your healthcare in certain situations. This document will specifically discuss your exact 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 you choose to give this privilege to 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.

Let Us Help You Plan For Your Future Today

Since 2002, the expert attorneys at OC Elder Law have focused on the areas of estate planning and elder law. We proudly provide the same guidance and legal power of a large firm, but in a personalized setting that can be tailored to the individual needs of our clients. Whether you're in Fullerton, Corona, Newport Beach, or anywhere else in Southern California, we would be proud to meet with you and discuss how we can help you set up an estate plan that meets all of your legal needs. Call today for a free in-office case consultation.

Estate Planning Attorneys Serving Orange County & Fullerton, California

When it comes to planning for the future, no time is better than the present. The estate planning attorneys at OC Elder Law have been working with clients in the Orange County area for over 15 years on all matters of estate planning. If you or someone you know is looking to set up an estate plan, call and schedule a free in-office meeting with our estate planning experts today.