You may have heard the words “estate planning” but are unclear as to what that means exactly. What am I planning for? Do I even have an estate?
I. What does the term “estate” mean?
Estate planning is a general term that sometimes involves your “estate,” which is a legal term that simply means the property you own. Your estate can be tangible assets such as real estate, personal property like jewelry and cars, cash, or stocks and bonds. It can also include intangible assets, such as trademarks, patents, or other intellectual property.
II. What does “estate planning” entail?
So one aspect of estate planning involves transferring your assets to your beneficiaries in the most cost-effective way possible.
The most common vehicle to do this is through a revocable living trust(“RLT”). The RLT is flexible in that you can transfer assets in and out of it during your lifetime, but it also has testamentary effect (and becomes irrevocable) upon your death.
The RLT is a good replacement for a will in most cases, because unlike a will, the RLT does not have to be processed in probate court after you pass away, which will save your estate from unnecessary court fees as well as the administrative and time burden involved with probate court.
III. What if I become incapacitated at some point in my life?
An estate planning lawyer can also set up other important documents which allow you to care for your assets and your health during your incapacity.
Incapacity is a legal term which means your mental state is such that you are no longer able to make legal decisions for yourself. The most common reasons for incapacity occur when you age, due to Alzheimer’s or other dementia, but can also occur if you are involved in an accident and suffer brain trauma or unconsciousness.
It’s never fun to imagine these possibilities, but the good news is you can take a few simple steps today that make decisions ahead of time so you don’t have to burden your loved ones later with confusion about your true wishes, or with the need to seek court involvement in order for your loved ones to get authorization from a judge to handle your affairs for you.
In your RLT, you can appoint trustees to manage your estate in the event you become incapacitated.
IV. How can an estate planning lawyer help?
Your estate planning lawyer can create your Advance Healthcare Directive, your Notarized Power of Attorney, and your HIPAA Release Form to ensure the agents you appoint have the power and the direction needed to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf.
At Denni Law, we can get you started with your estate plan affordably, so you don’t have to worry about causing burden on your loved ones down the road. Just text or call me at 949-973-6478.
For more information on estate planning and how I can help you plan for your future, please visit https://dennilaw.com/estate-planning-lawyer/
For other related material written by Attorney Denni, please visit:
Revocable trust: https://dennilaw.com/revocable-trust/
Advance healthcare directive: https://dennilaw.com/advance-healthcare-directive/
Power of attorney: https://dennilaw.com/notarized-power-of-attorney/
HIPAA release form: https://dennilaw.com/hipaa-release-form/
If you’d like further information on Attorney Denni, you can find his contact information in our California Lawyer’s Listing.