The estate planning attorneys here at the Schomer Law Group greatly believe in the power of education. Studies that are conducted to get a feel for the estate planning preparedness of American adults typically show that most people are going through life without any estate planning documents.
We have found that people are more likely to take action when they understand why the process is so very important. To spread awareness, we offer seminars on an ongoing basis when time allows. There are a number of dates coming up in the near future, and these are some of the topics that will be covered at these information sessions.
Far too many people that do not understand the facts equate the process of estate planning to the simple execution of a last will. In reality, if you have a reasonable store of resources to pass along to your loved ones, this may not be the best choice at all.
You may not be aware of the fact that a last will must be admitted to probate after the passing of the decedent. This is a legal process, and it comes with some pitfalls. One of them is the consumption of time; it will take at least eight months to a year for the court to probate an estate in most cases.
No inheritances can be distributed until the estate has been probated and closed by the court, so this waiting game negatively impacts the rightful inheritors. In addition to this factor, there is also the matter of expenses. Legal fees, court costs, the executor’s payment, accounting charges, liquidation fees, and appraisal expenses can consume a significant portion of the estate.
Plus, if you use a last will to state your final wishes, you would be allowing for lump sum inheritances. This could be a source of concern if you have someone in the family that is not good at managing money.
All of these drawbacks can be avoided through the utilization of a revocable living trust instead of a last will. Assets that have been conveyed into this type of trust can be distributed by the trustee that is named in the document outside of probate, so all the negatives are avoided.
It is also possible to instruct the trustee to provide a spendthrift beneficiary with limited distributions over an extended period of time. These are a couple of the benefits, but there are others.
Of course, there are other types of trusts that can satisfy a wide array of different estate planning objectives. The right choice will depend upon the circumstances, and this is why it is important to discuss your options with a licensed estate planning attorney before you make any final decisions.
Estate planning is not confined to events that will take place after you are gone. A well-constructed estate plan will address circumstances that may befall you toward the end of your life.
The Alzheimer’s Association tells us that about 40% of elders that are 85 years of age and older have contracted the disease. Clearly, people with this health challenge are not going to be able to make sound decisions on their own at some point in time. While Alzheimer’s is a major culprit, it is not the only underlying cause of incapacity in the oldest old.
To account for this, you can include documents called durable powers of attorney in your estate plan. With a durable power of attorney for health care, you can name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. A durable financial power of attorney can be added to empower a financial representative
Another incapacity document that should be included is a living will. With this type of will, you state your preferences with regard to the utilization of life-sustaining measures like artificial hydration, artificial respiration, and other life support systems.
Estate Tax Efficiency
There are many financially successful people in our area, and it is important to brace yourself for estate taxes if you are a high net worth individual. This tax can take a heavy toll on your legacy, because it carries a hefty 40% maximum rate. Fortunately, there are strategies that can be implemented to gain estate tax efficiency, and we explain them at our seminars.
Reserve Your Seat Today!
As you can see, you can learn a great deal if you attend one of our seminars, and these are not the only three topics that are covered. It would be well worth the investment if there was an admission charge, but you will not be asked to reach into your pocket for one thin dime.
That’s right, the seminars are being offered free of charge at the present time. However, we do ask that you register in advance, because space is limited. You can get all the details if you visit the Los Angeles estate planning seminar page on this website.
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