What Is Estate Planning?
An estate plan includes trusts, wills, health care directives, financial directives, guardian designations, and living wills. However, proper estate planning does not merely include the delivery of these documents, but the process of identifying the objectives sought by our clients and putting in place the strategies that help them achieve their goals. Thus, estate planning primarily consists of the advice and guidance that you get from a professional who can be a steward in the preservation of your wealth.
In a nutshell, our firm takes the comprehensive approach to estate planning, which includes not only the methods in which a person’s assets are distributed upon death, but also the implementation of strategies that preserve the most amount of wealth during one’s life. It follows that the most amount of wealth that can be preserved during one’s life can increase the overall value of the estate, which the beneficiaries will receive upon one’s death. Our firm also uses the various tools available in the legal realm in order to protect the assets of our clients from creditors and predators.
Why Do You Need An Estate Plan?
Some reasons for proper estate planning include tax efficiency during the client’s lifetime and after death, protecting assets from outside and inside creditors, preventing family feuds, appointing the right person to oversee the health care and financial decisions in case of a disability, and protecting children or disabled family members by appointing a guardian of the client’s choice in the event of the client’s disability or death.
Our firm is dedicated to crafting a plan that not only serves to minimize the tax consequences for our clients, but to also ensure that their desires are carried out accordingly both during life and after death.
How Do We Design And Implement Your Estate Plan?
Every client’s case is unique. As such, we conduct a separate analysis to determine what particular strategies are best utilized to not only protect the client’s assets, but to also minimize the tax liabilities.
Our firm implements a process by first assessing the client’s situation and understanding the concerns facing the client. Thereafter, we present the best choice that we believe will meet the objectives sought by our client. One way we help our clients reduce the expenses associated with their estate at the time of their death is by creating a Revocable Living Trust (“Living Trust”).
Probate is a process which allows the decedent’s assets to be transferred from the decedent’s estate to his or her heirs. Probate is an expensive and time-consuming process. In California, the costs associated with probate decrease the overall value of the estate (on average) by 5%. In addition, the probate process lasts anywhere between 12 to 16 months.
In California, a Living Trust avoids probate, which is significant because probate is also a public proceeding and the probate files become part of the public record. As such, family feuds become highly problematic in these settings, especially when some family members may believe that they are entitled to a greater share in the decedent’s estate than they would otherwise receive under a will or intestacy. However, transfers of assets pursuant to a Living Trust are generally conducted in a private setting and the provisions included in the trust are generally executed according to the donor’s wishes. Therefore, our firm can design a comprehensive estate plan that includes the avoidance of probate.
Have an estate planning question? Contact Haik Chilingaryan.