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