Estate planning protects your assets and provides for your loved ones when you are unable to do so.
Take control of what your loved ones will go through if something happens to you. An attorney skilled in estate planning gives you the power to have everything already arranged and taken care of.
It’s important to get this done right.
Brennan & David estate planning attorneys are here to simplify the process, ask questions to discern your needs, and guide you step by step through to having your will and plans completed.
On average, it takes two or three weeks to have your plan completed and done. We ask questions and schedule a phone call to begin. In no time, you’ll have one less thing to worry about!
Contact us and let’s talk about your needs and concerns.
The Parts of an Estate Plan
An estate planning attorney can setup a living will, a trust, an irrevocable trust, a power of attorney, an executor of estate, a last will and testament, and any other necessary planning.
An estate plan involves multiple documents that each serve a different purpose. Some of the documents become effective immediately, others plan for specific events such as if you become incapacitated, and your will is created to see that your wishes are carried out upon your death.
While each individual and family is unique and has unique needs, an estate plan generally consists of the following documents:
- Living Trust
- Advanced Health Care Directive
- Power of Attorney
A living trust is a legal document that keeps your loved ones from having to go through probate. It’s easy to save your heirs money and protect them from a lengthy court process. The arrangements don’t take long and we’re here to guide you through it.
A living trust becomes effective immediately and allows you to transfer your assets into a safe place. The trust is setup with no delay whatsoever and includes terms for management of your assets upon your death or in the event that you become incapacitated. The specifications are set by you and can provide for loved ones, contain restrictions based on individual family needs, and include tax planning.
Without a living trust, court proceedings are required to oversee your asset management and distribution. Probate is a lengthy process and can be costly, even with a skilled attorney to help. Petitions must be filed with the court, representatives must be appointed by the court, and the estate must be documented, appraised, and transferred. Your loved ones can be saved time, money, and stress by doing your estate planning with an experienced attorney.
A will is a document that serves two crucial purposes: (1) it grants you the ability to tell the court your wishes for your assets and (2) if you have minor children, it allows you to nominate a guardian for them if you pass away before they are adults.
Unlike a trust, a will comes into effect upon your passing and your family must take the will to court and initiate a probate proceeding in order to transfer your property after your death.
Advanced Health Care Directive
An advanced health care directive comes into effect during your lifetime if you become incapacitated. A health care directive allows you to state certain preferences regarding your medical care and nominate someone to make decisions for you if you are unable to do so.
What are your wishes if you are unconscious, in a coma, paralyzed, or mentally unable to make medical decisions for yourself? An advanced health care directive or living will is how you can direct your medical care if you become incapacitated. A health care directive allows you to state certain preferences regarding your medical care and nominate someone to make decisions for you if you are unable to do so.
Power of Attorney
What happens if you are in a serious car accident and severely debilitated for weeks or months?
A power of attorney is only effective during your lifetime and allows you to nominate someone to manage your financial matters if you become incapacitated. A power of attorney can either become effective immediately for a specific purpose (i.e. if you are travelling) or it can become effective upon your incapacitation.
Estate Planning FAQ
How long does it take to create an estate plan?
We craft each plan to fit the client, but on average, it takes about two to three weeks.
If I setup a trust, do I need to transfer everything to it?
We will ask questions and tailor your estate plan to fit your needs. Not all financial accounts need to be transferred into your trust. Often, accounts such as retirement and life insurance, are setup to allow the property to transfer after your death without a probate proceeding. However, it can be useful to transfer these accounts into your trust, especially if you have minor children. We will discuss your families’ needs with you to help come up with a plan.
How do I transfer property into my trust?
As part of your estate planning, we can prepare deeds for any properties you own in California. If you acquire property later, it’s a simple process to include them in your estate plan.
To transfer personal property (tangible property without a title) into your trust, we can prepare what is called an Assignment of Personal Property. We prepare an assignment of personal property as part of your estate plan.
To transfer your bank accounts into the trust, provide your bank with a copy of your Certification of Trust. This is a short form of your trust that includes all of your Trusts’ essential terms. Our office provides a Certification of Trust as part of your estate plan. The bank will take care of transferring the account.
How often do I need to revise my trust?
Generally, once a trust is set up, you do not have to revise the trust itself unless you have life changes, want to change the terms of the trust, or there are changes to the laws that relate directly to your estate.
If you acquire property, you can add it your trust to maintain your estate plan.
Your Estate Plan is Important
Unless all of your assets are jointly owned, it is a good idea to have an estate plan in place. Certain assets, such as IRA accounts, life insurance accounts, and other financial accounts which have a designated beneficiary also do not require special treatment. However, if your combined assets, without beneficiaries, total more than $150,000, an estate plan should be put in place so your loved ones know your wishes for their disposition.
Estate planning involves far more than preparation of a will; you should also have the proper documentation in place in the event you are disabled and cannot care for yourself. Powers of attorney can be put in place to ensure someone has the authority to provide your medical care with guidance, and someone has authority to pay your medical bills, and handle other financial issues.
If you live in San Diego, CA and do not have an estate plan in place, contact BRENNAN & DAVID LAW GROUP and schedule an appointment to visit one of our offices which are conveniently located in Carlsbad and San Diego. We can help you with all your estate planning needs.