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Estate Planning

Estate PlanningThe Law Offices of Laura A. Davis excels in the areas of estate planning and estate administration. No matter how small or large your net worth, Laura A. Davis will help you create a customized estate plan geared at helping to protect the assets you have worked hard to accumulate, and pass them on to your loved ones in a thoughtful and tax efficient manner.

 Laura A. Davis will guide you through the legal steps required to make your estate plan a reality. Using estate planning tools and techniques, including trusts, wills, powers of attorney and lifetime gifts, she creates an estate plan designed to your specifications and your vision for the future. With a focus on limiting potential taxes and fees, Laura A. Davis seeks to help you and your family reduce or eliminate, where possible, death and income taxes assessed against your property.

Laura A. Davis can you help you with:

The Law Offices of Laura A. Davis: Planning your estate with care and understanding.

What You Need To Know About Estate Planning In California

What You Need To Know About Estate Planning In CaliforniaThe following article will cover:

  • The importance of estate planning, its objectives, and the consequences of not having proper documents in place.
  • The significance of a will and its limitations in addressing asset management during one’s lifetime.
  • The purpose of a revocable living trust, one of the most common types of trusts used in California, and the benefits it provides.

What Is Estate Planning And Why Do We Need It? What Happens When Someone Dies In California Without Having Proper Estate Planning Documents In Place?

Estate planning is a crucial process that involves creating a comprehensive plan for managing and distributing your assets during your lifetime and after your death. The primary objectives of estate planning include:

  • Directing the disposition of your assets upon your death.
  • Avoiding court involvement, such as probate or conservatorships.
  • Easing the transition of management of your assets in case of your illness or incapacity.
  • Minimizing income taxes, property taxes, and estate tax liabilities for you and your family.
  • In certain cases, protecting your assets from creditors.

In the absence of proper estate planning, various issues may arise, such as:

  • Assets may not be distributed according to your intentions.
  • Court supervision may be required, leading to additional bureaucracy and delays.
  • Increased property taxes, estate taxes, or income tax liabilities.

To ensure a smooth transition of asset management and minimize tax consequences, proper estate planning is essential. Otherwise, the court system may need to be involved to appoint a representative to manage and protect your assets.

What Is A Will?

A will is a written document containing your instructions for managing and distributing your assets after your death. However, it only takes effect from the date of your death and does not address asset management during your lifetime. Although a will is essential, it is often insufficient on its own for most people, and a comprehensive estate plan is always recommended.

What Is The Purpose Of Using A Trust For Estate Planning In California?

In California, one of the most common types of trusts is the revocable living trust. This trust serves to establish rules for managing and distributing assets both during your lifetime and after your death. As it is created during your lifetime, it is known as a living trust. The term “revocable” refers to your ability to change the trust terms as long as you are competent to do so. The revocable living trust fulfills the following purposes:

  • Directs the distribution of assets, similar to a will
  • Provides for pre-death asset management in case of illness or incapacity

What Is A Power Of Attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document in which you designate another person as your agent (or “attorney-in-fact”) to sign documents on your behalf. POAs can be categorized into two types:

  1. Immediate POA: Effective as soon as it is signed, allowing the designated agent to execute documents on your behalf immediately.
  2. Springing POA: Remains dormant until a specific event, usually incapacity, triggers its activation. The determination of incapacity can be based on one or more doctors’ letters, or a competency panel comprised of friends, doctors and/or other mental health professionals.

What Documents Do I Need to Include a Power of Attorney in My Estate Plan?

To include a power of attorney in your estate plan, you will need the POA document itself, which designates your agent and grants them specific powers. Your signature on the POA can be confirmed by witnesses to the signature, or can be acknowledged before a Notary Public. Having the POA notarized may be required in some cases, especially if the POA involves  real estate and needs to be recorded with a county recorder’s office. Even without real estate, notarization also increases the POA’s credibility, as institutions may view the document as less suspicious compared to a document that is merely witnessed. For more information on the Need For Estate Planning In California, an initial consultation is your next best step.

Laura A. Davis Law Offices - Monterey, CA

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(831) 318-5593

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