One of the most important things you can do for your loved ones is to create an estate plan, which will direct where your assets go after your pass away. Estate planning is a great way to make sure your loved ones are provided for and taken care of after you are no longer here. It is also a great way to organize all of your documents in one place for your loved ones, so that they are not struggling to locate all of your important documents.
Our firm is experienced in preparing Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Pour Over Wills, Advanced Health Care Directives, HIPAA Authorizations, General Durable Power of Attorney documents, and many other estate planning documents.
Our attorneys have prepared hundreds of estate plans for clients all over Northern California over the years, and we provide compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance throughout the entire estate planning process. We will also help you make sure that your trust is funded and all of your assets get properly transferred into your trust to avoid any legal issues in the future.
We want to make sure your estate plan is perfect for you and your family.
WillS & Probate
Did you know if you die without any estate planning documents, that your assets are distributed according to California law? California law requires that your assets go through a lengthy public court process called Probate. Probate also has a statutorily defined fee structure under California Probate Code §10810, where at least 4% of the value of your estate is paid in fees to an attorney, and another 4% is paid to the personal representative or executor of your estate. It also will not allow for specific gifts to people outside of your immediate family or to your friends. Your assets will pass via intestate succession, to your closest living relatives. A will is a great way to direct where your assets go, however, many are unaware that it will still require Probate. We highly recommend preparing a revocable living trust to avoid Probate.
Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is a great way to avoid Probate, in addition to avoiding those statutorily defined minimum fees and a public court administration. It also gives you the flexibility to choose who you want to administer your trust, or who will be your Trustee, to provide specific gifts to loved ones and friends and to choose who receives your assets. A revocable living trust also gives you the flexibility to change your estate plan as your needs change, while maintaining your privacy. Revocable Living Trusts are the most common estate planning option chosen.
Our Revocable Living Trust package comes with the following documents included, so that everything is taken care of for you:
- Revocable Living Trust
- Pour Over Will
- Certification of Trust
- General Transfer Agreement
- General Durable Power of Attorney
- HIPAA Authorization
- Advanced Health Care Directive
- Final Services Request & Authorization for Cremation
- Grant Deeds
- Transfer Letters
Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is essentially a document that can be changed while you are alive and have capacity, and it will direct where your assets go upon your death through a private trust administration outside of Probate. You can select who you want to inherit all of your assets and who will act as your trustee after your death to be responsible for administering your trust. You can also customize certain parts of your trust to provide for compensation to the trustee and add the option of certain specific gifts of your personal property to your loved ones.
When you prepare a trust, you should always prepare a pour over will. This ensures that any of your assets that did not get properly funded into your trust will get “poured over” into your trust in order to avoid Probate.
Certification of Trust
A Certification of Trust is a document that states the name of your trust and provides proof that you are the trustee. This document is generally used to provide to banks and financial institutions to show that you have authority as the trustee of your trust. It also ensures that you do not have to show your entire trust document to a third party.
General Transfer Agreement
A General Transfer Agreement evidences your intent to have all of your assets transferred into your trust, and it will help transfer any future assets into your trust as well. This document acts as a safety net to ensure that we can transfer anything you accidentally left out of your trust over into your trust and avoid Probate.
General Durable Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that appoints an agent or an “attorney-in-fact” to represent you in your personal and financial dealings. However, a standard power of attorney will terminate once you become incapacitated unless you have a durable power of attorney, which allows your agent to continue to act on your behalf while you are incapacitated. A General Durable Power of Attorney is crucial in ensuring others can carry on tasks for you if you become incapacitated.
A HIPAA Authorization allows your power of attorney to access your medical records in the event you become incapacitated, so that he or she can effectively carry out your wishes.
Advanced Health Care Directive
We can also help you prepare an Advanced Health Care Directive where you can also choose someone close to you to make health care decisions based on your direction. I have seen many families choose a spouse or child and this document helps them make important decisions and will prevent any guessing because they will know exactly what your wishes are, such as:
- Choice not to prolong life, or choice to prolong life
- Pain relief wishes
- Organ donation
Final Services Request & Authorization for Cremation
We also provide you the opportunity to specify how you would like your final services, such as choosing a burial, cremation or a certain ceremony of your choice to ensure your loved ones know your wishes.
Our law firm will prepare a Grant Deed to transfer title of your home into your trust name, to ensure that your home is part of your trust and not subject to Probate. We will also assist with recording these with the County Recorder’s office where your home is located, subject to recording fees.
We also prepare transfer letters to your banks and financial institutions to transfer title of your accounts to your trust name. Many law firms do not help their clients transfer their assets into their trust, however, at Real Estate Law Corporation we help our clients through the entire process of setting up their trusts and transferring title to all of their assets into the trust.