San Diego Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning is one of the necessities of life. If you become incapacitated, you want to be sure the person who will be in charge of your affairs is personally chosen by you. If you have small children or loved ones, the last thing you want to do is make them go through an expensive and complicated process while grieving your death.
You want to make sure that your sane sister and not your crazy brother is given the guardianship of your children. If your children are over 18, but still not old enough to be financially savvy, you want to protect them from losing or frittering away all of the money you worked a lifetime for, in just a few years. If your children are grown, you don’t want them fighting over your estate. On the other hand if you think that’s what is going to happen, you might just want to leave it all to a charity instead. Finally if you have been fortunate in life to have a have accumulated a lot of money, you will want to protect it from taxation to the maximum extent possible.
Why do I need an estate plan?
Everyone needs an estate plan regardless of age, family situation, or wealth. Estate planning allows you to make important decisions ahead of time as to who will control your estate and how it is distributed.
The goal of estate planning is to make the transfer of your personal wealth to the people and/or institutions you want, quick, uncomplicated, and with a minimum of costs.
What does an estate planning attorney do?
A good estate planning attorney will take the time to sit down with you, explain the possibilities, and set up a plan to make sure your loved ones are protected from themselves, extra costs that could be avoided (such as probate of your estate), and others who will want to take advantage of their newfound wealth.
I have written over a thousand wills and trusts. I long ago lost track of how many people told me what a relief it was to finally get this piece of personal business done. In cases where there was only a Will, but no trust or other estate planning, I have taken hundreds of estates through probate.
Can I have more than one estate plan?
Technically, each person has one estate plan. But your plan can be composed of a myriad of legal estate planning documents. In addition, your plan can have more than one goal and more than one beneficiary. You can update your plan as life unfolds, representing changes in your estate planning goals, finances, and your attorney’s experience.
How much does estate planning cost?
Legal fees for estate planning are reflective of your needs (based upon your goals and asset level) and the value your estate planning attorney can convey. After learning your situation, I can give you a fixed fee, meaning that before you commit, you know exactly how much it will cost. There are no additional fees for telephone calls to ask questions, copies, postage, and the like. Estate planning can be relatively quick and inexpensive. Not doing estate planning will cost your heirs much more. If you have just had children or finally come face to face with the fact that this is something that needs to be done, please feel free to call my office for a consultation at your convenience.
Can I do my own estate planning?
You can legally complete your own estate planning documents, but you’re taking a big chance with a lot of money. It’s just not worth the risk. I had a client come to me with her father’s trust. Her father had done the trust himself from some forms he found online. Unfortunately he never funded the trust or did a schedule of assets. To save a few dollars his heirs had to spend 10 months and thousands of dollars in probate fees.
You should work with a professional estate planning attorney. This will enable you to get all of your questions answered and will ensure that you receive an estate plan that is designed for your needs.
If you questions about estate planning or want to evaluate your estate planning goals, feel free to call my office 858-792-5988. I’d be happy to assist you and answer all of your questions.