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Estate Planning Attorney in Palm Springs, CA

Why have an Estate Plan?

You’ve worked hard your entire life, and by working diligently you may have accumulated real estate, investments, retirement accounts, belongings, and wealth, all of which constitute your estate. Whether one’s estate is large or modest, simple or complex, every individual has an estate. Upon your death, the assets of your estate must be distributed in compliance with state laws. It is imperative to have an estate plan in place to have control over how, when, and to whom your assets will be distributed.

Having an established estate plan is one of the most thoughtful decisions you can make for the people you love and care about. However, good estate planning is much more than making arrangements for the end of your life. With a properly prepared estate plan, you can provide for yourself during incapacity, protect your loved ones, contribute to the organizations that are important to you, and ensure your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes. A comprehensive estate plan allows you to have control if unforeseeable events occur and you are incapacitated. Moreover, having an estate plan offers your loved ones guidance on how to administer your estate smoothly while avoiding costly fees and lengthy legal proceedings.

Some people mistakenly believe that estate planning is confusing, pricey, and cumbersome. Others do not know where to begin or who to turn to for direction.

At the Desert Law Group, we offer comprehensive estate planning services in the Coachella Valley, California, which includes Palm Springs, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, and La Quinta. Desert Law Group is a team of highly qualified estate planning attorneys and paralegals ready to assist you as you prepare for the future. Estate plans prepared by Desert Law Group range from simple wills and trusts to more specialized plans that may include complex trust structures and more. Desert Law Group offers critical guidance and expert services in estate planning to ensure your wishes are fulfilled and your heirs are looked after. Providing your loved ones with a quality estate plan will ensure they won’t have to clean up the mess in your estate, it also saves them time and money, and protects them from experiencing undue emotional stress.

What happens when I do not have an Estate Plan?

You may not know this but if you do not have an estate plan in place, the state of California already has a plan for you – it’s in the Probate Code. You may not agree with this plan and by the time it is in effect, it will be too late.

In the event you are unable to make decisions due to incapacity, only an agent appointed by a court can make decisions on your behalf. Ultimately, if you do not have an estate plan in place and you are incapacitated, the court will control how your assets are used for your care through a court proceeding called a conservatorship. A conservatorship is time-consuming and expensive. Usually, if you do recover from the incapacity, it is difficult for you to regain control over your own affairs from the court.

If you die without an estate plan in place, the timing and distribution of your estate will be decided by the State of California’s intestacy laws. Occasionally, the state handles your affairs precisely as you intended. Unfortunately, it is often the exact opposite that occurs. Your estate may be distributed unequally, beneficiaries may receive fractions of the inheritance you originally intended due to divorces, remarriages, minor children, stepchildren, businesses, or other complications. In addition, a court will control the inheritance of your minor children and have the authority to appoint a guardian, whom you may not want, for your children.

An estate plan prepared by an experienced estate planning team is the only way to ensure your assets are used for your benefit in the event you are incapacitated and that your estate is distributed as you intended with your loved ones protected.

The Benefits of Estate Planning

You have likely been putting the interest of your loved ones first throughout your lifetime and having an estate plan in place will allow you to continue to do so, even when you are gone. Here are some of the benefits of having a comprehensive estate plan:

Providing for Your Family

With an estate plan, you can make sure that your family is provided for once you are gone. Without an estate plan, your family will need to deal with expensive court processes and lengthy proceedings. Your beneficiaries may not receive as much of your assets as you intended.

Protecting Your Children

If you pass away with minor children, you need a plan in place for who will raise them. If you do not have a plan in place, your children could end up with Child Protective Services or with a guardian you did not choose to supervise their lives.

Minimizing Your Expenses

Without an estate plan, the courts administer your estate through an expensive and lengthy probate process. The probate process will cost your family time and funds that could have gone to them if you had an estate plan.

Speeding Up the Process

With an estate plan, your loved ones can have access to the assets and money they need to survive immediately, as opposed to waiting for a lengthy court process to administer your estate.

Sparing Your Family from Difficult Decisions

An estate plan will prevent your loved ones from making difficult decisions on your behalf, such as how your remains are handled or when to terminate life support when the time comes. An estate plan will have your wishes laid out for your family, providing your family with peace of mind, and reassuring them that you made the choices you desired.

Reducing Taxes

Tax planning is a vital part of estate planning with Desert Law Group, and we will ensure your loved ones receive more of your money and disinherit Uncle Sam.

Planning for Long Term Care Needs

Long-term care planning provides legal strategies so you can be eligible for Medi-Cal services, if appropriate, among other services. This way, you don’t run out of money before you run out of breath.

Planning for Incapacity

An estate plan can designate an agent under a power of attorney in the event you become incapacitated and are unable to manage your financial and healthcare affairs. This will help you to avoid the expensive conservatorship court process.

Protect Your Business from Interruption

If you own a small or sizable business, an estate plan will determine what happens to your business upon your incapacity and after your passing. If you do not have an estate plan, your business will go through the probate process, which may drastically impact the business negatively.

Facts and Questions about Estate Planning

You have questions about estate planning. We have the answers.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate Planning is the process of planning ahead so you can take control of your future today.   The person or persons you designate will have the authority for the management and disposition of your estate in the event you become incapacitated or pass away.

What are the legal documents needed for estate planning?

Generally, you will need a Last Will and Testament or a Revocable Trust to govern your estate, a Durable Power of Attorney for your financial affairs, and an Advance Medical Directive and HIPAA Medical Authorization for your healthcare.  Depending on the nature of your estate plan, you may need further documents, such as a life insurance trust, or retirement trust, among others.

What is the process in estate planning?
  1. Meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine your goals and objectives;
  2. Take inventory of your estate;
  3. Work with the estate planning attorney to prepare a comprehensive estate plan that documents your wishes, creates a viable contingency plan, provides for your loved ones, and protects your assets;
  4. Put your estate plan into action by retitling your assets, organizing your governing documents, and providing necessary funding to your estate plan; and
  5. Update your estate plan as your situation and laws change.
When should you form an estate plan?

Estate Planning is appropriate for any age. You should have an estate plan consisting of a basic Last Will and Testament, Advanced Healthcare Directive, and Power of Attorney in place as early as eighteen years old when you become an adult. By your late twenties and thirties, you should consider having a Pour-over Last Will and Testament and Trust, if applicable. As you age, estate planning becomes more important and involved.

Desert Law Group’s Estate Planning Services

At Desert Law Group, we assist you with the creation of an estate plan that meets your unique needs and lifestyle. The legal team at Desert Law Group creates and manages estate plans for individuals, couples, those with children or that have special needs situations, small business owners, and others of all ages and at all income levels. We focus on forming comprehensive estate plans that will minimize legal expenses, taxes, and unnecessary fees that may result from your death and occur during the administration of your estate. Our estate planning services will help your loved ones avoid lengthy court proceedings and distribute your assets in a timely manner. It is our goal to create estate plans that are thorough, straightforward, and effective. Additionally, we can assist with the transfer of your titles and records so that your documents and assets are in order before your passing.

We also offer reviews of existing estate plans which help ensure your plan takes current tax laws into account and accommodates any assets you have acquired since the time the plan was created. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys today to learn more about estate plans and to discuss your estate planning goals and options.

Estate Planning FAQ

Desert Law Group is here to ensure you feel confident and informed in your decision if you are considering a will or trust in your estate planning process. Our estate planning lawyers in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, CA, offer unparallel advice and representation to ensure your assets are protected, and your wishes are respected. Here are some commonly asked questions regarding estate planning.

Who Do We Serve?

The estate planning lawyers at Desert Law Group extend our expertise and knowledge of estate planning, Trust Administration and Probate Administration in Palm Springs and surrounding areas. If you are in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, or one of the local surrounding areas, Desert Law Group is here to provide you with unmatched estate planning services.

What Does My Estate Consist Of?

When planning your estate, it’s essential to understand the assets that account for your estate. Your estate will include all assets that you own at the time of your death. This may include the following:

  • Real Property
  • Personal Property
  • Bank Accounts
  • Retirement Plans
  • Life Insurance
  • Annuitites
  • Businesses Interests
  • Investments
  • Debts
What Assets Are Not Included in My Estate?

Assets transferred in an irrevocable trust during your lifetime are not part of your estate. Additionally, your estate does not include pay-on-death accounts, property owned with a right of survivorship, and savings bonds with named beneficiaries. Therefore, these assets are typically not subject to the probate process.

What Happens If I Do Not Have a Will?

If you do not have a will, the assets in your name will be subject to intestate succession. This means that your children or spouse will receive them through the probate process. If you do not have children or a spouse, they will be given to other close relatives.

What Is the Purpose of a Last or Living Will?

A will outlines your final wishes, determining who your assets are left to, guardianship for minor children, and more. This legal document is important and our estate planning attorneys can provide you with peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will receive your estate.

What Are the Benefits of Creating a Will?

There are many benefits to creating a will, including the following:

  • A will is easier to set up than a trust and other methods
  • Your final wishes will be clearly expressed
  • A will minimizes family disputes upon your passing as to your wishes
  • A will let you decide who will be in charge upon your passing
What Is a Trust?

A trust is a separate “entity” that ensures your assets are transferred to heirs according to your wishes. In contrast to wills, trusts that are properly funded offer greater privacy as they do not go through the probate system. Furthermore, trusts offer tax planning opportunities and advantages for those with high net worth. Although the cost is typically higher than a Will, the benefits supersede the costs.

Do I Need a Trust?

In certain cases, individuals may benefit from having a will and trust. Our estate planning attorneys in our Indian Wells office can help to analyze your estate, family dynamic, and your planning goals to determine if setting up both a will and a trust is in your best interest.

Who Benefits From an Estate Planning Lawyer?

While anyone can benefit from counsel with an estate planning lawyer, it’s essential for those with unique family or financial situations involving:

  • Recent divorce or second marriages
  • Blended families
  • Same sex couples
  • Family members with special needs
  • Real estate property ownership
  • Minor children or children from a previous marriage
Contact Us to Have an Estate Planning Lawyer Help You

Estate planning attorneys provide specialized knowledge and experience. When you work with an estate planning lawyer, you can update or modify your revocable estate plan when changes arise in your life or the law. Estate attorneys ensure your plan complies with federal and state law while respecting your wishes. Our attorneys are standing by to help you with any questions that you may have about your estate planning, trust administration and probate when you contact us.

Contact Desert Law Group

To learn more about estate plans or discuss your estate planning needs, call Desert Law Group at 760-481-1144 or use the form below to contact us.

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