We do estate planning for our corporate and real estate clients. We recommend
that anyone who has minor children or who owns real estate seriously consider
the formation of a living trust. A living trust is helpful because it can avoid
probate for all of the assets which are held in the trust and it provides for
an orderly disposition of our clients assets after their death.
Probate is the process of transferring title from someone who
has died to those who will inherit the property. If a husband and wife own
their property in joint tenancy, at the death of the first spouse, the surviving
spouse may file an affidavit of death of joint tenant and the property becomes
the sole property of the surviving spouse. However, upon the death of the surviving
spouse, when both husband and wife are dead, there's no one to sign a grant
deed to give the property to their children. A probate case must be filed with
the local court and a judge will determine who will inherit. Since the husband
and wife are both dead the judge must sign a probate court order which can
be recorded at the County Recorder's Office just like a grant deed. Probate
is the process of changing title from people who have died to those who would
inherit from them.
Our office does not do probates; we try and plan our clients
affairs so they can avoid probate. A living trust allows a client to avoid
probate. Additionally, without a living trust children are entitled to their
full inheritance at age 18. Many of our clients with minor children wish to
provide for the health, education, and welfare of their children but do not
want their children to receive their entire inheritance at age 18. Trust provisions
can provide for college, medical care, housing, etc. Trust provisions can also
provide for a delayed inheritance. For example, a father and mother may decide
that their children may receive one-third of their inheritance at age 21, one-third
at age 25, and one-third at age 29. Estate planning also allows for charitable
giving and can protect step-children from being disinherited by a step-parent.
We recommend that all of our clients complete a Net
Worth Survey every few years so that when they die there is a current
record of all of their assets, account numbers, etc. We also provide an Estate
Planning Checklist that helps our clients organize and prepare a will
and living trust. We recommend that all of our clients have a power of attorney
for their business affairs. We have combined six different documents into
an advanced directive which includes a power of attorney for healthcare,
the specification of a guardian, directions regarding anatomical gifts, a
living will, and a directive to physicians regarding prolonging life.
Because our office does not do probates nor trust administration,
we recommend several attorneys, including Noel Allen, Esq., who has an office
in our business complex.
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