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Please remember that Bob Scrivano is not an attorney, everything expressed on this website is his opinion only and should not be construed as legal advice.
Estate planning services at-a-glance:
• Assistance in developing a comprehensive Estate Plan
• Assistance with preparation for and/or moderation of a Family Conference
• Explanation of essential documents and processes to help you use Wills, Living Trusts, Advance Healthcare Directives and Powers of Attorney effectively
• Assistance with asset preservation, financial planning, benefits applications and document preparation
CONTRARY to popular belief, Estate Planning does not simply entail the writing of a will before someone dies. It is in fact a vastly more dynamic and elaborate process which, if done right, can mean tremendous savings to families in all sorts of circumstances.
Many families prepare for the death of an aging member in some fashion, and understandably so. It is the most difficult kind of loss humans have to endure, emotionally and practically, and it is inevitable, unavoidable and irreversible. Remember though, from an Estate Planning perspective, losing an aging loved one often has nothing to do with death. Many times that loss can be to frailty, to dementia, to incompetence. And obviously rules applying to property and assets and income and ownership are different for the living than they are for the deceased. All this adds another layer or two to the challenge of Estate Planning. Families too often seem to forget that death among elderly individuals is nearly always preceded by some kind of deterioration, physical and/or neurological, and all of the above demand some amount of preparation. Every situation is different. Every family, whether they know it or not, whether they admit it or not, will regret not having an Estate Plan when the need for one finally befalls them.
Putting together a comprehensive Estate Plan is an underrated and underutilized process that is overlooked by too many California families, to their great detriment.
Many don’t know the answers to basic questions about their aging loved ones’ finances, medical situations, legal designees, etc. If your elderly family member died (or, for example, was declared incompetent) tomorrow morning, would you know who to contact about his or her finances? Where are the bank accounts and in whose name(s)? Would you know any account numbers or balances? What about the whereabouts of titles or deeds? Who are the persons authorized to amend the trusts, if any? Are assets protected against State recovery in any way? These are just a few of dozens of questions that many cannot answer.
Have you considered holding a Family Conference to collate this information and to discuss future plans for a given situation or family member? Is everyone in your family on the same page? Have you figured out how you will pay for whatever expenses may arise? If you would like help developing an agenda for such a meeting, or even moderating the meeting itself, please don’t hesitate to ask for our help.
Finally, understanding how to use essential documents such as Wills, Living Trusts, Advance Healthcare Directives and Powers of Attorney effectively and in combination with one another is critical. Finding ways, within the context of a given situation, to most effectively preserve assets, sustain income, minimize taxation and government interference and maximize growth is an enormous component of Estate Planning.
Please call us today to begin working on (or to revisit) your family’s Estate Plan.