Advance Health Care Directive

WHY “DO IT YOURSELF/FILL IN THE BLANK” WILLS & TRUSTS OFTEN RESULT IN DISASTER

WHY “DO IT YOURSELF/FILL IN THE BLANK” WILLS & TRUSTS OFTEN RESULT IN DISASTER Retaining the services and expertise of an attorney who can assist you in preparing a smart estate plan requires a serious investment of time and money. The benefits (however) far outweigh whatever the upfront costs may be. Having the assurance and peace of mind that you and your family will be legally and financially protected in taking on the challenges of the future is inestimable. However, these guarantees vanish immediately when one chooses to forgo retaining experienced legal advice and opting for the “do-it-yourself” approach to estate planning. Many unpleasant scenarios and real potential dangers await those who want to save a few dollars in the short-term; and whose loved ones will probably end up having to pay tens of thousands of dollars correcting their mistakes. Everyone is unique. No two families are the same. The slick advertising that online legal services utilize (especially with using formercelebrity attorneys to pitch their offerings) cannot deny this simple fact: virtual legal document preparers that promise cheap, fill in the blank options for estate planning will never replace the professional, confidential relationship between a lawyer and his/her client. When circumstances require urgent technical advice and counsel, these do-it-yourself websites are of no use to a distraught client. Their staff is prohibited from rendering any kind of practical legal guidance to consumers. If you are making a terrible mistake in your estate planning, they can’t prevent you from doing so (the   unauthorized practice of law is a criminal offense in all 50 states). In addition, these online services...

MISTAKEN IDEAS REGARDING ESTATE PLANNING

There is a great deal of confusion and mythology regarding estate planning. It’s a subject that healthy, busy people really don’t want to think about. Understandably, the thought of suddenly becoming unable to function (due to disease or a catastrophic illness) and needing to depend upon someone else, along with having to come to grips with the inevitability of death, can really be distressing. However, by taking methodical, concerted action by creating a well-advised estate plan, one can at least confront these unpleasant realities in a rational way.     The following are some examples of erroneous information some people have regarding estate planning:   1. “I don’t have a will and I don’t really own a lot of property, so what’s the problem if I die without one?” You DO have a problem. Without having a witnessed will that is also valid within your state, if you die as a single custodial parent, your surviving minor children run the chance of being taken care of by blood relatives of the probate court’s choosing—not yours. In addition, any remaining financial assets in your name will be evenly distributed to your immediate family members. Without a clear-cut estate plan, your surviving spouse may not have enough of your money to supplement his/her retirement income.   2. “If I become incapacitated, my executor will take care of everything.” WRONG . Your executor is someone you have designated in your will to carry out your wishes after you pass away. If you’re still alive, and find yourself in failing health, your executor can’t help you. With a smart estate plan, you can...

Estate Planning: Affordable Care Act and expanded Medi-Cal

Under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), low income persons under age 65 may enroll in the expanded Medi-Cal in order to meet the federal requirement that everyone have health care insurance. At age 65, Medicare covers doctor visits, hospital visits and some prescription drugs. Read...

Why An Advance Directive Is A Crucial Part Of Estate Planning

Today is a day that, until recently, I wasn’t aware had any independent significance other than being April 16. However, April 16 is – and has been for the past seven years – National Healthcare Decisions Day. You can see the website dedicated to this purpose here: www.nhdd.org Planning with an … Read...

Estate Planning News – April 14th, 2014

In this week’s inaugural edition of Estate Planning News, our firm has selected some helpful articles from around the web that cover problems commonly encountered by clients during the Estate Planning process: so our readers won’t make them! In an article from CNBC, authors highlight mistakes Estate Planning clients frequently make. The problems discussed occur all too often, as clients consistently regard Estate Planning as a “one-time” action rather than the lifelong process it ought to be. This is great reading for people who have not reviewed their estate plan recently. Along similar lines, Professor Gerry Beyer of Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog identifies the “Ostrich Syndrome” associated with Estate Planning, where clients do not want to begin the process because it is difficult to confront the questions associated with drafting a comprehensive plan. We wholeheartedly agree with him that this creates more problems than it solves. The article about an Estate Planning checklist is a good place for people overcoming the aforementioned “Ostrich Syndrome” to start when they realize they need a plan. It can be overwhelming to consider all of the steps that need to be taken when planning for the future, and having an easy-to-understand list of potential considerations is a big help. Finally, we conclude this week’s Estate Planning News with an interesting piece about digital assets and estate planning. In an age increasingly dependent on intangible assets and cloud technology, considering things like email accounts, subscriptions, and other digital property are often an afterthought when it comes to Estate Planning. Avoid the top 5 estate-planning blunders – CNBC.com CNBC.com Avoid the top 5 estate-planning blunders...