How We Can Help You
Nearly everyone wants to ensure the safety and stability of their families. But even so, many people overlook just how much planning and forethought are really necessary in order to satisfy the legal requirements of estate planning for the future.
Trusts are one of the single most important legal tools for protecting liquid assets and property, by assuring that they will be passed on according to your wishes. Far too many people aren’t aware of the protections that can be afforded by establishing a living trust, including minimizing unnecessary taxation, avoiding the expensive and lengthy probate process, allowing a trustee to manage financial matters in the case of physical or mental incapacitation, and more.
Under some circumstances, it can be desirable to have the courts directly supervise the distribution of one’s assets. Living trusts aren’t always the best option. But for many people, a trust is the best way of avoiding the costly court probate, while establishing a legally binding directive for disseminating your property.
Conservatorships are a legal process where one person asks the Probate Court to make financial or health decisions for another person. The person who is asking the court to make these decisions, the Proposed Conservator, must show that the person that the decisions will be made for, the Proposed Conservatee, lacks mental capacity to manage his or her affairs. Conservatorships can be a long and complex process, but we make it easy and straightforward for you each step of the way.
Powers of Attorney
While documents such as living trusts and wills are useful legal tools for naming guardians for one’s children and trustees to handle financial affairs, it’s extremely important to not overlook what may happen in the event of serious injury or incapacitation.
Choosing someone to make medical decisions for you in a worst case scenario is one of the most important considerations in day-to-day life, not only as a matter of physical security, but financial as well.
But it’s easy to overlook the legal complications that can arise when serious medical crises occur. While many trust their spouses or close family members to make decisions on their behalf, what happens when disagreements arise? Anybody who paid attention to the news about ten years ago should remember the case of Terri Schiavo, and the legal fight that played out between her husband and parents over who had ultimate authority over her medical care. It was a long, complicated, and traumatizing affair for all involved that played out because Schiavo left no written instructions for what should happen if she were to be unable to make medical decisions on her own behalf. And all of it could have been avoided if she had established what is known as a “durable power of attorney.”
A durable power of attorney is called “durable” because it retains its legal power when the person who originally made it is incapacitated and no longer able to make legal or medical decisions. When you give a family member or other trusted person power of attorney, this means that they are given the legal right to handle various aspects of your affairs, including the right to manage your financial assets, pay bills, and perhaps most importantly, make medical decisions for you. By giving a loved one power of attorney over your affairs, you can avoid many of the emotionally and financially costly disagreements that can arise when there are no written directives to turn to.
Probate is a process where a Decedent's will is proven before a court (if there was a will) and the Decedent's estate is then administered so as to manage the estate's property, settle the estate's debts and distribute assets to beneficiaries. Advance Planning takes special care to make the probate process easy and straightforward, with a focus on San Joaquin, Alameda, and Stanislaus Counties.