Irrevocable Living Trusts
An Irrevocable Living Trust is a legal document you cannot modify or terminate without the permission of the beneficiary. By setting up an Irrevocable Living Trust, you effectively remove your right of ownership to the assets in the trust. Usually, Irrevocable Living Trusts are created to transfer wealth, protect assets, and reduce taxes. The assets held in the trust can include: a business, investment assets, cash, and life insurance policies.
A Revocable Living Trust is a legal document that indicates exactly what your desires are with regard to your assets, your dependents, and your heirs. A living trust bypasses the costly and time-consuming process of probate. You will name a “Successor Trustee,” who will distribute your trust assets according to your instructions, which will be clearly documented. The “Successor Trustee” performs this function at the time of your death or if you’re unable to manage your financial, healthcare, or legal affairs due to incapacity.
Special Needs Trusts
A Special Needs Trust is a trust designed for beneficiaries who are disabled, either physically or mentally. It is written so the beneficiary can enjoy the use of property that is held in the trust for his or her benefit, while at the same time allowing the beneficiary to receive essential needs-based government benefits.
A will is a document you create in which you specify the method to be applied in the management and distribution of your estate at A will enables you to select your heirs rather than allowing the state laws of descent and distribution to choose your heirs. A will also allows you to select an individual to serve as the executor of your estate and safeguards your right to select an individual to serve as guardian to raise your young children in the event of your death.
LBGT Estate Planning
Estate planning for same-sex couples has evolved dramatically over the past couple of decades. Same-sex marriage has evolved from state-wide recognition in 2008 for some people, to federal recognition and California reinstatement of same-sex marriage in 2013. Estate planning is just as crucial for you, as part of a same-sex couple, as it is for opposite-sex couples. Given all the changes in the law, estate planning for same-sex couples can be complicated. Whether you are married or not, you will likely need help navigating the unexpected issues relating to property co-ownership, federal and state taxes, and California state domestic partnership.
A pet trust is a legally-sanctioned arrangement that provides for the care and maintenance of your pet(s) in the event of your disability or death. A trust allows you to specify a sum of money to be used for your pet’s continued care and to name a trustee to carry out your wishes. A pet trust can be created as a “stand alone” trust or it can be part of a “revocable living trust” that you create for the rest of your estate.
Financial Durable Power of Attorney
A power of attorney gives one or more persons the power to act on your behalf as your agent. The power may be limited to a particular activity or be general in its application. The power may give temporary or permanent authority to act on your behalf. The power may take effect immediately, or only upon the occurrence of a future event, usually a determination that you are unable to act for yourself due to mental or physical disability.
An Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) is important for everyone over 18 years of age. You may find yourself unexpectedly in a position where you cannot speak for yourself, such as after an accident or as a result of severe illness. An AHCD allows you to give detailed instructions about your health care wishes and appoint an agent who has power of attorney to help carry out those wishes.
A conservatorship is a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization to care for another adult who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances. There are three main types of conservatorships:
(1) General Conservatorship – a conservatorship of an adult who cannot manage his or her own personal care and/or finances. Most legal rights are removed from the conservatee in this type of conservatorship.
(2) Limited Conservatorship – a conservatorships of a developmentally delayed adult who can not manage his or her own personal care and/or finances. The conservatee maintains some rights in this type of conservatorship.
(3) Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Conservatorship– a LPS conservatorship is limited to adultswith mental illness who are determined to be “gravely disabled” by the court. This type of conservatorship can only be brought to the court by a government agency.