Estate Planning

San Diego Estate Planning

An estate plan refers to the means by which your estate is preserved during your lifetime and distributed to your loved ones upon your passing


Why Is An Estate Plan Necessary?

  • It is used to avoid the costly and time-consuming probate process, which is public in nature, requires statutory fees (the cost of probate determined by the state of California), and can take anywhere from six months to several years for your beneficiaries to receive their inheritance
  • It enables you to decide who inherits from you and at what time in their lives
  • Assists with planning for incapacity
  • Allows you to plan for yourself and loved ones without giving up control of your assets
  • Allows you to plan while taking into account current and future concerns for family members
  • Allows you to accomplish your dreams and goals for yourself, your family, and your assets
  • Reduces income, gift, estate and generation skipping taxes
  • Keeps affairs private
  • Prevents family conflict
  • Gives you the ability to make decisions of who will assist you and your loved ones in the event of an unexpected accident, diminished capacity and eventual death
  • Eases management of your financial and legal affairs during your incapacity and after your passing
  • Provides loved ones with efficient and timely inheritance, as quickly as 120 days
  • Gives you the piece of mind that the assets you worked so hard to acquire will be distributed in accordance with your wishes

Included Documents

On a very basic level, a living trust is a document in which you name your beneficiaries and in what manner they will inherit from you. The most important reason to have a revocable living trust in California is that it shields your estate from probate. Having a will does not save your estate from the daunting process of probate. During the probate process, the
 State of California will name your beneficiaries and decide how they will inherit from you. Trusts do not require probate proceedings and thereby avoid the expense and
 inconvenience associated with it. A trust is also an important vehicle to avoid a conservatorship proceedings if you should become physically or mentally incompetent before your death.  

Contrary to popular belief, a will, standing alone, does not protect your estate from probate. However, a pour-over will accompanied by a trust will ensure that your heirs receive their inheritance without having to go through the laborious probate process.  The pour-over will ensures that assets not titled in the name of your trust are put into the trust after your passing. In addition, the will names guardians for your minor children or dependents, sets out your burial and funeral arrangements, and names your executors. Stand-alone wills are usually an appropriate estate planning tool for any individual whose aggregate assets are less than one hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000). 

A durable power of attorney is a document that allows you (the principal) to give authority to another person (your agent or attorney-in-fact) to make financial/legal decisions and financial transactions on your behalf. It is called “durable” when, by its terms, it remains effective even if the principle becomes mentally incompetent. This document allows your agent to accomplish a wide array of tasks upon your incapacity, from something as simple as paying your bills and doing your taxes to more complicated matters, such as selling your home and planning for long-term care. 

An advanced health care directive, also referred to as a living will, is a document that allows you the opportunity to appoint a trusted loved one to make difficult medical decisions in accordance with your wishes in the event that you become unable to make them yourself. If you have specific preferences when regard to certain medical conditions or situations, these can be addressed through this document. 

The Certificate of Trust is a public document used to transfer assets 
(bank accounts, stock accounts, mutual funds, real property, etc.) into the name of your trust. This is the document which you will show to the bank, stockbroker, escrow officer, etc.
 for items you wish to place in the name of your trust.