Riverside Estate Planning Lawyer
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. This aphorism is a bit extreme, but nonetheless generally true. Most Californians have absolutely no estate planning documents in place. That approach usually leads to disaster. Pop singer Prince did not leave a will, and his estate is still in litigation, with no sign of ending. Of course, there are no guarantees. His contemporary Tom Petty made a will, and there was still some litigation to resolve.
No attorney can guarantee an outcome. Those who make such promises are either inexperienced or telling you what you want to hear. So, the only guarantee the Riverside estate planning lawyers at The Probate Guy make is a guarantee to put clients first. We work hard to provide the estate planning tools you need. Once the time comes, we work just as hard to resolve all questions in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Through it all, we always proactively communicate with you, so you have the information you need to make the best possible decisions.
Core Estate Planning Tools
In as little as one virtual or in-person office visit, an attorney can prepare a will, living will, and power of attorney. These three instruments are the legal equivalent of duct tape and pliers. In most cases, they take care of all estate planning needs.
Wills put your final requests in black and white. Most will contests involve the contents of the distributions or the will’s technical aspects. Our Riverside estate planning lawyers take care of both these possible deficiencies. We ensure that your bequests are fair to all your heirs and accurately reflect your wishes. Furthermore, our will preparation services include a will signing ceremony. So, you have confidence that your will is legally enforceable.
Living wills, which are also known as directives to physicians and DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders, are almost as important. Medical science has advanced to the point that doctors can prolong life almost indefinitely in many cases. However, there comes a point when many people do not want aggressive lifesaving treatment. A living will is the only voice these people have, since at this point, they are usually incapacitated under California law.
Powers of attorney give makers control over financial and other matters when they are unable to do so. Typically, people create springing powers of attorney. They take effect in certain situations, and the maker usually has the power to rescind the appointment. Legally, the attorney-in-fact is an agent. Agents have a legal duty to act in the best interests of their principals.
In many cases, the basic estate planning components are only a starting point. If you have additional assets which need protection, our Riverside estate planning lawyers can show you some advanced estate planning options which are designed to meet specific needs, such as:
- Charitable Contribution/Wealth Preservation: Many people avoid taxes, and benefit causes they hold dear, by contributing their assets to charity. There are a number of ways you can give to charity and also preserve assets for your heirs. For example, a DAF (Donor Advisory Fund) allows you, or a person you designate, to “advise” the fund regarding money usage, as well as who should receive any charitable benefits.
- Future Generations: There are some ways you can preserve your assets for your grandchildren, and even beyond. Back in the days of Rockefeller and Carnegie, Generation Skipping Trusts were a tax-free way of transferring assets in this way. The tax-free days are gone, but GSTs are still an option, and the tax exemption is rather large.
- Maximize Family Gifts: Large estates are subject to considerable income and gift taxes. Family Limited Partnerships, one of the newest estate planning tools, may be a good option in these situations. A number of loopholes, like minority interest and lack of marketability, discount these transfers and limit tax liability.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to estate planning options. Our professional team has almost unlimited latitude when it comes to customizing a plan which meets your needs.
Reach Out to an Experienced Orange County Lawyer
You can take steps now to protect your heirs and assets later. For a free consultation with an experienced Riverside probate lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Robert L. Cohen. We routinely handle matters throughout SoCal.