Newman Law Group

Tustin Estate Planning Law Blog

Trusts offer convenient method to transfer assets

Estate planning comprises a number of different topics that all have a common goal. In addition to wills, powers of attorney and estate administration directives, many California residents find that trusts offer a convenient method to transfer assets. Although there are many different types of trusts, the two most common are revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts.

Revocable trusts are executed during the lifetime of the property owner. With this type of trust, title to the property is transferred to the trust while the individual is still living. Additionally, the individual transferring the property remains as the trustee and has the ability to discontinue the property's inclusion in the trust at will. The benefit of this type of trust is that, upon the individual's death, the property is not subject to probate because it is owned by the trust.

Health care directives can guide family in making decisions

Advances in medical care have added years to the life of the average California resident. Illnesses that would once result in almost certain death can now be treated, and the individual can continue on with a normal life. As a loved one ages, many times, it is up to family members to decide what that individual wants and how to medically best take care of him or her. These decisions can be stressful for the family and often cause dissension. In order to avoid all this, one can establish advanced health care directives indicating the type and extent of medical care desired.

Dementia is a disease that will ultimately affect approximately half of the aging population. Along with it comes the inability to make personal medical decisions. This leaves the family debating on whether or not treatable illnesses should be treated. Society and the medical community typically advocate for treating illness simply because it can be treated. However, is this truly the best option for one whose quality of life has diminished due to advanced dementia?

Preparing wills important for newly married couples

Many people believe that estate planning is something that someone at or approaching retirement age should be doing. This way of thinking, though, could be a serious problem for many California couples. In fact, estate planning and the creation of wills are something that should begin almost as soon as the wedding vows are shared.

One of the first pieces of the estate planning process includes the couple's individual wills. Each individual should create of list of all assets and decide exactly how these assets should be distributed if the worst should happen. An important part of this process is naming beneficiaries, especially if there are specific items that should go to someone other than the current spouse. Once this is done, each one will want to meet with an estate planning attorney to formally draft the will.

Basics of estate planning

Over the years, the average individual will accumulate both assets and liabilities. These will often be in the form of real estate, investments, collections, mortgages and other personal debt. While this accumulation is normal for most California residents, how to handle these assets and liabilities as a part of one's estate is unique to each individual. For this reason, estate planning is crucial for those wanting to make things easier and protect assets for the next generation.

On the surface, estate planning can appear to be an overwhelming process. One of the first steps to take is to create a list of all assets and liabilities. Upon review of this list, one may decide that it would simply be easier on all involved if some of the assets or liabilities were disposed of. Assets that have little meaning to others or that may be difficult for another to place value upon can be sold to eliminate confusion later on. Once this list is completed, it is important to review it on a regular basis and update it as needed.

Durable power of attorney essential in planning for the future

Unfortunately, planning for the future involves planning for both the best and worst case scenarios. Under the best of circumstances, the individual will live a long, full life and be able to enjoy California retirement. On the other hand, this is not guaranteed, and the individual may suffer a condition in which he or she is unable to make their own personal decisions. In both instances, a durable power of attorney will be a beneficial document.

For the individual who is able to enjoy the so-called golden years, the durable power of attorney can add a sense of freedom. This document will allow a specified individual to act on behalf of the individual. This person can take care of paying bills and managing assets while one is off enjoying life.

Yes, medical professionals have singular planning needs

It is certainly not unusual to note that doctors, dentists and many other medical professionals have multiple and distinct planning needs that are flatly dissimilar from individuals in other career fields.

In fact, it is logical that they do, given the singularity of their industry and the unique training that qualifies them for practicing within it.

Medicaid benefits: You're entitled to those, right?

If you worked hard for decades, making all requisite payments to government entitlement programs through payroll withholding taxes, you're dutifully entitled to receive benefits under the Medicaid program in the event you need long-term care, right?

Let's take a quick time out on that assumption to clear up what much empirical and anecdotal evidence indicates is a base misunderstanding that legions of Americans have when the word Medicaid pops up.

Evolving families and related estate planning considerations

In addressing various configurations, a tag team of columnists focusing upon America's huge baby boomer demographic note that a boomer parent "may be in a first and only marriage, never married and single, never married and with a current partner, divorced and single, or divorced and remarried."

What is central to note about that observation in the realm of estate planning is this: The organic, fluid and often complex composition of American families makes a cookie-cooker planning scheme applicable to most cases a broad absurdity.

Literally, a cottage industry in the realm of estate planning

If you're lucky enough to have a second residence where family getaways and annual vacations occur (by a river perhaps, or far off in the woods), you likely feel truly blessed.

From California to Connecticut, millions of American families have cabins at which they periodically congregate to de-stress and reconnect, with some of those properties having played an important role in family bonding and memory making for decades.

Medi-Cal eligibility: proven attorney can help with twists, turns

Legions of aging baby boomers in California and across the country believe that many of their financial concerns regarding health care will abate as they enter their senior years, owing to their eligibility for Medicare benefits they have worked hard for over decades.

There is certainly some reasonable basis for that expectation, given the intent of Medicare to seamlessly step in for company-sponsored or privately secured insurance coverage at the age of 65.