Once we assess the type of assets you own through our Family Wealth Worksheet questionnaire, we will better understand your specific risk factors and the level of protection you desire.
We assist our clients in determining the appropriate level of asset protection planning for their particular circumstances.
If you have a business, it is necessary to review how it is set up. Our Small Business Legal Audit is a key first step.
Customized combinations are layered depending on your needs. There are many different strategies to accomplish the protection of your assets while you are alive and after you are gone.
Contact us at (650) 761-0992 for a Family Wealth Planning Session™ or book an appointment online now to find out which strategies may be right for you.
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You want your pet to continue to have the kind of love and care you provided during your life, but estate planning for furry friends requires a little more thought than you might expect.
To understand why, it’s important to know two things:
A WILL WON’T CUT IT
While you see them as part of the family, under the law, a pet is considered personal property, just like your money, furniture, and clothes.
Because of this, you can’t actually leave money or possessions to your pet directly through your Will or Trust. Even if you try to leave money directly to your pet in your Will, the money will instead skip your pet and pass to the beneficiaries you named to receive the remainder of your possessions. Or, if you didn’t name anyone else, the court will give your possessions, including your pet, to your next of kin, as determined under the law.
Worst of all, the person that receives your pet and money for its care through your Will has no legal obligation to use that money for your pet’s care or to even keep your pet at all. That’s why it’s so critically important to work with an estate planning attorney who knows the proper way to plan for your pet, so that when you die or if you become incapacitated, your beloved companion won’t end up in an animal shelter or given away to anyone you wouldn’t want raising your beloved familiar.
Boss and Holkers shared a seemingly extremely happy life together in Los Angeles, California where they were raising their three children, ages 3, 7, and 14. Sadly, on December 13, 2022, Boss died by suicide at the age of 40. Boss’ death was a complete shock to fans and loved ones who reported the star seemed happy in the weeks leading up to his death.
Boss died without a Will or Trust in place, meaning his wife, Allison Holker, has the task of petitioning the California court system to release Boss’ share of their assets to her.
While California has tools to simplify this process for some couples, Holker will still need to wait months before she can formally take possession of the property Boss owned with her, as well as property held in his name alone, including his share of his production company, royalties, and his personal investment account.
UNNECESSARY COURT INVOLVEMENT IN A TIME OF GRIEF
In order to have access to her late husband’s assets, Holker had to make a public filing in the Los Angeles County Probate Court by filing a California Spousal Property Petition, which asks the court to transfer ownership of a deceased spouse’s property to the surviving spouse.
Holker must also prove she was legally married to Boss at the time of his death. While California’s Spousal Property Petition helps speed up an otherwise lengthy probate court process, the court’s involvement nonetheless delays Holker’s ability to access her late husband’s assets - a hurdle no one wants to deal with in the wake of a devastating loss. In addition, the court probate process is entirely public, meaning that the specific assets Holker is trying to access are made part of the public record and available for anyone to read.
During such a difficult time, all a person wants is the space to mourn and manage their loved one’s affairs in privacy and peace. With court involvement, the timeline of steps that need to be taken is dictated by the court, and the process of proving your right to manage your loved one’s assets can feel like an unfair burden when there are so many other things to take care of during the death of a loved one. This isn’t just a problem for the wealthy. Even if you own a modest estate at your death, your family will need to go through the probate court process to transfer ownership of your assets if you don’t have an estate plan in place.
We regularly meet with clients who ask us to review an estate plan that they created online or with an attorney who isn’t experienced with estate planning. You see, these clients usually think they found a faster and cheaper solution to estate planning, but once the plan is signed and done, they’re often left wondering whether this “cheap” plan will actually accomplish their goals, or if it will leave their family with a big mess instead.
And what I see time and again when I review these estate plans are poorly designed plans with simple but devastating mistakes. What’s more, these clients wouldn’t even realize their plan had these mistakes if they hadn’t met with us!
While it might seem simple enough to put together a trust online or have your tax attorney prepare your will, it can be very difficult to create an estate plan that works without the proper training and experience. What might seem like minor details to the inexperienced eye can often have major effects on your plan’s final outcome.
More often than not, clients who meet with us to review a DIY plan find out that instead of saving money on their estate plan, they’ve actually cost themselves much more by buying a plan that has mistakes. And if these mistakes aren’t caught by you while you’re alive and well, your loved ones will be the ones paying the price to resolve them after you’re gone.
Here are the three biggest mistakes I see when reviewing DIY and low-cost estate plans:
Hiring a lawyer to help you make wise decisions for life and death can be the most empowering choice you ever make for yourself and your loved ones. The way I explain it to my friends and family is, “estate planning isnt about planning for your death, it’s about planning for your life.” So, with that frame in mind, let’s talk about how to choose an estate planning attorney, because we aren’t all cut from the same cloth.
The right lawyer will be there for your family when you can’t be, so you want to understand who the lawyer is as a person, not just an attorney. Of course, you’ll also want to discover the services your lawyer offers and how they run their business.
Here are five questions to ensure you don’t end up paying for legal services you don’t need, expect, or want. Once you know exactly what you should be looking for when choosing an estate planning lawyer, you’ll be much better positioned to hire an attorney that will provide the kind of love, attention, care, and trust your family deserves.
An estate plan ensures any medical decisions needed while away from home will be handled according to your wishes, and with as much ease as possible, no matter what the rules are where something happens. If you fall ill or become injured and can’t make medical decisions for yourself, your estate plan will ensure that decisions will be made by the person you choose, and with your indicated desires for your care at the forefront.
Without an estate plan in place, your family or friends could have a heavy lift to get you back home, locate your assets, keep your bills paid, and even ensure your children get taken care of by the right people in the right way.
Lastly, an estate plan ensures that any debts or liabilities are taken care of properly in case something happens while on vacation. This can help prevent creditors from trying to collect from surviving family members after the fact — something no one wants to deal with during such a difficult time.