Estate Planning in Thousand Oaks
Thousand Oaks, CA Estate Planning Lawyer
A well-drafted estate plan not only ensures that expenses associated with your incapacity or death are minimized, but it keeps settling your estate much more simple and more efficient. Most helpfully, it ensures that your assets will benefit your loved ones and most prioritized charities as you wish and in the exact amounts you lay out in your plan.
An effective estate plan starts with gaining a full understanding of your goals with your plan. We then address possible complications, such as taxes on your estate, issues with liquidity, and family business transitions while devising a plan that keeps your loved ones and beneficiaries secure.
People create estate plans primarily in order to avoid probate, avoid conservatorship, eliminate federal estate tax, distribute assets to beneficiaries, and nominate guardians for minor children. If you are interested in learning about how our Thousand Oaks estate planning attorney may be able to assist you or a loved one with estate planning, please contact our firm to schedule a no-obligation, 30-minute consultation.
The following are areas of estate planning on which we focus:
Benefits of an Estate Plan
A thorough estate plan can benefit both you and your family. Estate plans cannot only reduce possible taxes and fees associated with probate, but can ensure that the majority of your assets are transferred to beneficiaries after your death. Estate plans may also be constructed in such a way that families can avoid the probate process entirely, as well as name guardians for minor children or incapacitated loved ones.
Wills & Trust
Wills and trusts are incredibly important estate planning documents. When you create a will, you are giving your family and the probate court instructions on how to divide your assets and properties. You may also name a guardian and executor in your will. Trusts are often established in order to avoid probate, as well as provide for spouses and loved ones after you pass away.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney for property management is created in order to name a person, or agent, to manage your property should you become unable to do so. The person you nominate must act on your behalf and manage your property according to your wishes. It is ideal to choose an agent who is both trustworthy and experienced in managing assets. A power of attorney is specifically designed to address issues during one's lifetime, as is often required, in addition to a properly structured revocable living trust in order to deal with assets not held as a part of the trust.
Advance Health Care Directives
An advance health care directive is essential to ensure your named health care agent can make appropriate medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so. Additionally, this document allows you to clarify your desires with respect to medical treatment and living arrangements during incapacity, as well as life support and organ donations upon your passing. An advance health care directive tremendously simplifies the ability of your loved ones to make decisions with the confidence of knowing what you wanted.
Asset Protection Planning
While a basic estate plan that utilizes a revocable living trust will avoid probate and minimize or eliminate federal estate taxes, it will not protect you and your loved ones from your creditors or a lawsuit. For this reason, we recommend that "at risk" assets, such as rental properties and business interests, be held in legal entities, such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Limited Partnership or Corporation. Structuring your estate in such a manner will both minimize a creditor's ability to access the assets, as well as protect the balance of your estate (personal home, investments, etc.) from lawsuits originating within the entity.
Types of Trusts
There are dozens of trusts, but only a few may best benefit you. For example, irrevocable trusts cannot typically be changed or amended after established, whereas revocable trusts can be changed at any point up until the settler's death.
Trusts are established in order to put conditions on how and when your assets may be distributed after you die, minimize gift and estate tax, distribute assets to heirs without the high cost and time-delay of probate, and protect your assets from creditors and possible lawsuits. Other types of trust include charitable trusts, life insurance trusts, special needs trusts, and asset protection trusts.
What Our Firm Can Do
Our firm's attorneys have been helping clients create and revise estate plans since 1978. We understand the importance of this planning and strive to create personalized estate plans for each of our clients. For those who already have an estate plan but wish to amend a will, trust, power of attorney, advance health care directive or guardian nomination, we can help.
Please contact an estate planning lawyer at Pederson Law Offices to learn more about estate planning and how we can help.