Do You Need Estate Planning?
We answer this question by asking you four questions:
- Do you own anything of value, (including your home)?
- Do you have a family?
- Do you have dependents?
- Do you like having peace of mind?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you should contact us for an Estate Planning consultation. You may have already encountered terms such as “Pour-over Will”, “Revocable Living Trust,” “Advance Health Care Directive” and “Durable Power of Attorney,” and Gomez & Simone is committed to ensuring that our clients understand these concepts and how they can benefit you and your family.
Call today for a free consultation, and let us show you our Estate Planning Package, which include the above-mentioned four components all for one low price. We are among the most recognized real estate attorneys Los Angeles has and we commit to providing the best options and advice on how to manage your property. With the expertise of our attorneys, you will confidently plan for your future and your family’s future as well.
Estate Planning is a process where an individual or a family arranges how to distribute their property during their lifetime, and we advise that something this important should be done with an attorney. The Estate Planning Attorney is there to give not only legal advice, but offer an objective practical viewpoint so that the best results are obtained. Proper planning is critically important to ensure your family is properly protected against the legal, financial and emotional burden that comes when one passes away, and the difference between “planning” and “proper planning” is the difference our attorneys make. Properly preparing for those hard times will give you and your family peace of mind and it will save family disputes, potential conflicts and lots of money along the way.
The Gomez & Simone Complete Estate Planning Package for single or married persons includes a Living Trust, a Pour-over Will, a Durable Power of Attorney, an Advance Health Care Directive (all described below) for one low flat fee!
In planning for your estate, the first step is to determine the Net Worth of your Estate: what you currently have and what you will possibly have after your demise. These include all the assets like real estate, investments, life insurance, businesses, properties and anything that has value. If there are existing liabilities or debts, then they will automatically be subtracted from your the calculated overall net worth. The importance of having an attorney at this stage is crucial, as it is throughout the process. Note that “ownership” can be more complex that it might seem at first, as it is possible for an asset to have more than just a single owner. For example, joint tenancy with the right of survivorship means that if one of the owners passes away, then the other(s) automatically becomes the sole owner, but that each living joint tenant has a full undivided interest in the asset. Joint tenancy is easy to set up, but is not always advisable; for example, what if the joint tenants have a falling out? Sometimes the result is a lawsuit resulting in attorney and court fees and a court-administered sale of the property (“Partition”). Or what if the joint tenants have completely different ideas as to what to do with the property? Or what if you passed before the other joint tenants? Would the property pass to the people you want to? Other property ownership concepts to be analyzed by your lawyer may include ‘tenancy by the entirety’ and ‘community property’. Although California is a Community Property sate, the situation changes if the couple married in a different state.
Upon determining your net worth, the next step is to calculate the taxes you need to pay. This includes all federal and estate taxes. The inheritance taxes should also be calculated although this would eventually be paid by the beneficiary. After completing the calculation of the general tax impact, then the net worth can now be determined.
The last step is to determine how to structure the estate plan to meet your needs and wishes while being able to handle unexpected situations and minimizing you and your family’s tax liabilities. This may sound complicated, but the beauty of working with an estate planning attorney is, you give us the information and we take care of the rest.
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The Four Components of the G&S Estate Planning Package
We strongly believe that the G&S Four-Part Estate Planning Package is by far the best way to manage your assets both during and after your lifetime. Are there other ways of going about it? Sure, but read here to see that every alternative has serious disadvantages.
Now let’s talk about the four components of the G&S Estate Planning Package, and why we believe this package gives you the most comprehensive coverage – and peace of mind – at an affordable price point.
1. Revocable Living Trust
A Trust is a legal vehicle to hold assets for the benefit of another. In a “Living Trust,” you place your assets in trust for your own benefit during your life, and for the benefit of your loved ones after your death. While you are alive, you are the Trustee who manages the assets, and your loved ones are the Beneficiaries (heirs). When you pass away, your spouse (or successor trustee if you are single), now manages the trust for the Beneficiaries. The trust actually owns your property and you own the trust. This allows you to control your property and your wishes after your death will be carried out by your surviving spouse or the Successor Trustee. One of our attorneys will be glad to explain these concepts to you until you fully understand them.
Revocable Trusts make it very easy to transfer property ownership, even while you are alive; instead of going through the process of drafting and recording a grant or quitclaim deed, you simply change the beneficiary(s) of the trust. Trusts have too many benefits and uses to list here, but property transfer, privacy and asset protection are too of them. If your property’s title is held in a trust, your name is not publicly associated with the property, since the identity of the beneficiaries is kept private. And sophisticated real estate investors use land trusts to sell a property to buyers who buy “subject to” the existing mortgage, which is a win-win for both the seller and buyer. (See Stay-Or-Go.org and KSPreventionCenter.com for more info.)
Probably the greatest benefit of a Living Trust from an Estate Planning perspective is that it is designed to ensure that your estate does not go through Probate. Probate is a legal proceeding in Probate Court that can take years and is very expensive. Your heirs will not get your property until the whole process is finished, and in California, it can take up to two years for it to be complete, and cost many thousands of dollars. Not only that, but in the end, it is a judge who decides who gets what, not you. If you have properties in different states it is even more important to have a Living Trust: Without a California Trust, you would have on probate case in California and ancillary probate proceedings in each state that a property is located in. In other words, your heirs would need to find and hire attorneys in other states. See our article on Probate for more information. While our team of real estate and probate attorneys can also legally assist your heirs through probate, we still encourage you to consider estate planning to avoid such expense, time and complications.
Keep in mind that you have complete control over your Revocable Living Trust and all the property you transfer to it during your lifetime. You are allowed to use your property in any way you like and make changes to your trust at any time. With our attorneys to guide you, you can perform these changes and additions with confidence and ease.
2. Pour-Over Will
You may probably ask this question – Can’t I just set up a Will instead of creating a Living Trust?
Sure you can. But a Will does not prevent probate. So even though you have gone to the trouble of making a legally valid Will (which requires witnesses among other things), your heirs would still be tied up in probate court anyway, and your assets may not be distributed as you wished. On the other hand, even though your G&S Estate Planning Package will have a Living Trust, you still want to have a will. But not any old will, a “Pour-over Will.”
By definition, it’s a Will that will “pour into it” anything that is left outside of the Living Trust inadvertently or by omission and allow it to be transferred into the Trust. Hence the term ‘pour-over’, it will ‘pour’ anything left out of the Trust ‘into’ the trust. Remember, life goes on after yu create your Living Trust, and you may not always remember to change your trust to reflect the changes in your life.
Another reason you want the Pour-Over Will is that a Will is the place to designate a guardian for your minor children, and where you want to give your burial instructions.
Thus you can see, the Living Trust and Pour-over Will work hand-in-hand and give you complete confidence that your wishes – during and after your life – will be carried out just as you want them to be.
3. Durable Power of Attorney
The DPA enables you to appoint an “agent,” to handle specific responsibilities in case you become incapacitated or unable to run your financial affairs. In addition, having a DPA would avoid the possibility of the State appointing a Conservator to make such decisions for you .
4. Advance Health Care Directive
The health care directive, on the other hand, focuses on your medical needs. It helps you designate a person who will make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. The last thing you would want is your family arguing over how to treat you if you are incapacitated. Don’t worry, once you regain your health, you’re back in charge of your financial affairs and medical decisions.
A Team of Estate Planning Lawyers At Competitive Rates
We started Gomez & Simone as a Real Estate Law Firm. However, such legal issues can appear in a variety of different forums. To best assist our clients we have developed experience in those other forums and in other areas of law that may be related to your case. Thus, a team equipped with skills and knowledge to also function as defense attorneys were established. From Federal Court to Appellate Court, there is no challenge that our team is not ready and able to meet. Be guided from start to end by the top real estate attorneys Los Angeles has to offer.
If you intend to enter into the contract, you want to hire an attorney that has been published, has handled thousands of cases, has obtained millions in judgments and settlements for their clients and has been complimented by judges throughout California then give us a call today. Give our real estate Los Angeles Attorneys today and experience the best kind of legal assistance.