Estate planning involves more than a simple boilerplate trust document. To the contrary, a good estate planning attorney has experience in several related areas of the law. In the realm of estate planning, the attorneys at NewPoint Law Group are well-versed in fundamental estate planning, asset protection, probate administration, probate litigation, trust administration, and trust litigation, in addition to real property law, business law, and tax law.
While NewPoint Law Group offers a la carte preparation of individual estate planning documents such as a trust, will, power of attorney, etc., it is generally advisable to have an estate planning package that includes a trust, pour-over will, durable power of attorney, advance health care directive, and a HIPPA authorization. NewPoint Law Group can design an estate plan that meets your present and future needs, and preserves your assets during your lifetime and for the benefit of your family, friends, and favorite charities according to your wishes.
Why Is Estate Planning Necessary?
Estate planning is necessary for an array of notions. Some individuals may have multiple reasons for engaging in estate planning while others may have only a single reason for engaging in estate planning. However, regardless of your situation, even a single need or desire of the future can justify the creation of an estate plan that will protect and achieve your goals. Some reasons why an individual should consider forming an estate plan include:
- Planning for incapacity and medical issues – An unfortunate fact of life is that for many of us, a time will come where advanced age, injury, or disease leads to an inability to participate in important life decisions or make their wishes known. Living wills and durable health-care powers can allow you to make decisions about your healthcare and other important decisions before serious medical events occur. This can take difficult or impossible decisions out of the hands of family members when the time comes.
- Ensure your assets pass to family and friends – If you pass without a will or estate plan, your assets will pass according to intestacy laws. This means that your assets may not pass to the family members or friends you intend. Crafting an estate plan can ensure that assets pass to those you intend them to pass to and decrease the likelihood of intra-familial disputes.
- Minimize taxes on your estate – Engaging in estate planning can involve strategic gifting and other actions to decrease the taxes your estate is liable to pay. Minimizing taxes on your estate allows more of your assets to pass to family members, friends, and other intended beneficiaries.
- Provide aid to a favored cause or charity – If you have charitable goals, engaging in estate planning is an essential step in seeing those goals realized.
- Provide for individuals who need your assistance – An estate plan can also protect the needs of and provide support for an elderly parent or child with special needs. Likewise, the plan could also be crafted to provide for the education of a grandchild, niece, or nephew.
- Succession in a family business – In a family or a closely held business, estate planning can increase the odds of a smooth and orderly transition to a new generation of leadership. Proceeding in this manner can protect the company and its goals for the future.
The above represents only a few of the reasons why an individual should consider an estate plan to protect their needs and goals. No two situations are the same and needs and goals do vary, but estate plans can be crafted to address nearly all goals.
For Whom Is Estate Planning Suited?
For many people, it’s a commonly held misconception that they do not need estate planning “because they do not have an estate.” This misconception is rooted in the popular belief that you must be spectacularly wealthy to have an estate. However, in reality, an estate is simply the property you leave behind after passing. Your estate will include your property – like a home — investment accounts, retirement accounts, interests in businesses, and other valuable assets. Most people have at least some assets when they pass and state intestacy laws rarely, if ever, provide adequate protection for one’s goals and reflect one’s wishes. Therefore, estate planning is essential for all individuals starting at their 18th birthday. An estate plan should be updated regularly to ensure that it reflects the individual’s current goals and changes in the family.
While it is possible to protect your assets on a piecemeal basis, such as with a revocable living trust, business entity, and through insurance, it is often advisable to protect your assets with a global asset protection plan that takes all of your needs into account. NewPoint Law Group can design a unique asset protection plan that meets your needs on an individualized basis.
It is an emotional and difficult experience to deal with a loved one’s passing. Part of the difficulty and stress involves dealing with the decedent’s assets. Absent a trust, it is very likely that a probate will be required in order to transfer the assets appropriately. The attorneys at NewPoint Law Group are well versed in probate proceedings, making the process as simple as possible. While we endeavor to ensure that things will proceed smoothly, in some cases conflict and a challenge at probate are unavoidable. In these circumstances, we can fight to ensure that your wishes and goals are respected.
Trust Administration begins with funding a trust properly when it is first formed. It also encompasses trust amendments as they become necessary, administering the trust assets according to the terms of the trust, and avoiding litigation. NewPoint Law Group is experienced in all facets of trust administration to ensure that the terms of the trust are affected throughout its life.
Trust and Probate Litigation
Sometimes it is necessary to litigate an issue relating to a will or a trust. This can involve a dispute over the validity of a trust or a will, or it can involve an alleged breach of fiduciary duty by a personal representative or trustee. Regardless of circumstances, the attorneys at NewPoint Law Group are well-equipped to handle these types of disputes through a settlement, or litigation if necessary.
What if I Do Not Have an Estate Plan?
If you do not have an estate plan, California intestacy laws will control who gets your property. In many cases, the laws will not reflect your goals or wishes. If you have charitable or philanthropic goals, these may remain unrealized.
If you are incapacitated before your passing, your family members will be called upon to make difficult decisions regarding your medical care without the benefit of your guidance. A family business or closely-held company may spiral into disarray due to questions regarding management or leadership succession. Furthermore, if a dispute arises, your family members will not have the benefit of a reliable testament of your wishes. Finally, your estate may end up paying significantly more in estate taxes and other costs that would have otherwise benefited family members and other beneficiaries under your plan.
How Our Estate Planning Attorneys Can Help
Estate planning is an essential step towards protecting your wishes and goals. Whether due to incapacity or one’s eventual passing, estate planning can ensure that your goals are protected and the potential for family disputes is limited. Please contact NewPoint Law Group if you are in need of estate planning or asset protection, or if you are in need of assistance with probate, trust administration, or litigation. You can contact our strategic legal team by calling 1-800-358-0305 today. You can also submit your contact information via the contact form located in the right-hand sidebar.