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Ten Reasons You Do Not Want to Go To Probate” when you request an appointment.


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Estate Planning Services:

protect your nest eggs

Why You Need a Living Trust?

  • Avoid Costly Probate
  • Eliminate Uneccessary Estate Taxes
  • Protect Privacy
  • Distribute Your Wealth to Who You Want and When You Want
For more details, click here.

Living Trust Review

Perhaps it has been awhile since your living trust was prepared. Has anything changed that can effect your current estate plan? Bear in mind that a trust can only be changed by a formal amendment. A simple note in the margin of your document, or striking out of words, even next to your signature, is ineffective! Don’t risk having your assets go through probate.

Remember, a Living Trust is only as good as it is kept current!

For more details, click here.
Living Trust Review
Durable Power of Attorney

Why You Need a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) for Asset Management

If you don’t already have a complete estate plan that includes a POA, imagine the scenario that could arise if you were to lose the ability to make or communicate decisions following a car accident or serious illness that left you unconscious. The Durable Power of Attorney for asset management document allows you to designate who will administer and manage your personal assets in the event that you can not.

For more details, click here.

Why you need an Advance Healthcare Directive

An Advance Healthcare allows you to designate a trusted family member or friend to make health care decisions for you if you are unable – either temporarily or permanently – to do so for yourself.

You are at risk unless you have taken the simple but necessary step of signing an Advance Healthcare Directive.

For more details, click here.
Advance Healthcare Directive
Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney (for an adult child)

Do you have a child who is a young adult over 18 who is unmarried? They are no longer minors that you have the legal authority to make decisions for. The law now classifies them as adults with the legal right to privacy. If they have not prepared a Power of Attorney (“POA”), you may not be allowed to assist them during an emergency.

For more details, click here.

Healthcare Directive (for an adult child)

As a parent, your children have always counted on you for advice and support. However, what if your child age 18+ were to lose the ability to make or communicate decisions following a car accident or serious illness that left them unconscious? Without an Advance Healthcare Directive you may not be able to obtain basic information from healthcare professionals about your child’s condition.

For more details, click here.

Guardianship

Appointing a guardian for your minor children can be an important part of your overall estate plan. While none of us enjoys considering our mortality, the need for such is imperative when you have minor children. Choosing a guardian for cases where you and your spouse may become deceased or incapacitated, is critical, as the guardian will provide your children with food, education, medical care, dental care and shelter.

For more details, click here.

Meet Our Staff

We’re Experts in “Peace of Mind”.

The above testimonials or endorsements do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter or that the same results could be obtained for other clients in similar matters without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances of each client’s case.

Living Trust Flexible Pricing

Security Legal Services is dedicated to offering customized estate plans that meet your individual needs.

Whether you are single or married, young or old, having an experienced lawyer prepare your estate plan can help you avoid complex problematic issues as well as help avoid the time-consuming, expensive probate process. You may even be able to reduce or eliminate the federal estate tax.

Our firm’s planning process integrates consulting with your trusted advisors in order to create a comprehensive plan that provides answers to all of your questions. We treat each and every case with the respect and confidentiality you expect and deserve because the peace of mind in knowing that your family is taken care of is our top priority.

Basic

Estate Planning Package

Customized Revocable Living Trust & Schedules of Trust Assets

Abstract of Trust

Pour-over Will

Guardianship

Bill of Transfer & Letter
(for distribution of personal effects)

Power of Attorney
(for property and assets management)

Advance Heathcare Directive

HIPAA Authorization Letter

Living Will

Deluxe Binder

Free Annual Review

$1,750

NOW $1,499

Funded Trust

Estate Planning Package

Includes the Basic Estate Planning Package PLUS:

1 new Trust Transfer Deed
(transfers real estate into your trust)

Preliminary Change of Ownership Report (required by County)

Trust Funding Letters
(give to financial institutions)

$2,250

NOW $1,849

Deluxe

Estate Planning Package

Includes the Funded Trust Estate Planning Package PLUS:

One year enrollment in our “Annual Amendments Program.”

(covers these changes:  (a) the make up of your trust assets; (b) the disposition of assets to your heirs due to the birth or marriage of a child; and (c) changes in the persons you designated to act as successor trustees)

$2,650

NOW $2,249

FREE!
When you purchase our Deluxe Estate Planning Package, you will receive our GUIDE FOR SUCCESSOR TRUSTEES OR PERSONS ACTING UNDER POWER OF ATTORNEY (valued at $500) which provides an informative summary of procedures to be followed after a death or incapacity.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What are the typical objectives of an estate plan?

Most of us share the same objectives for our estate plan: 1) provide for our spouse or dependent children; 2) distribute our property; 3) plan for our disability; and 4) reduce our estate taxes. Unfortunately, most of us fail to put together a plan that achieves these goals. There are many approaches that can be used; some are relatively simple, while others are quite complex. The choice of the right plan for your situation requires careful consideration after receiving qualified professional advice.

What is meant by a "Living Trust"?

A living trust (also called a “revocable trust” or “inter vivos trust”) is a legal document created during your lifetime designating a person or corporation to step forward upon your death or incapacity to act as a trustee to receive and hold legal title to property and administer the property in accordance with the instructions in the trust document. It is revocable (i.e., capable of being changed, amended, or terminated). You can act as trustee and have broad powers to invest and use the trust fund assets. If you become incapacitated, the trust provides for a successor trustee to manage the trust assets. Upon your death the living trust contains instructions for the distribution of your assets, just as a will would. The primary difference between a living trust and a will is that assets held in trust do not have to go through the probate process. When you set up a living trust, you transfer your assets to the trust, and the trust is considered the owner of your assets. When you die, there is no probate because the trust is considered the owner of the assets and not you. The assets are then distributed according to the instructions in the trust.

What is Probate?

Probate is a legal process for managing estates of decedents and disabled persons. A court appoints and supervises a responsible individual or trust company, usually as designated by you in your will, who administers and distributes assets. Probate has the advantage of involving a judge to help sort out disputes and supervise unsophisticated executors but because a court is involved, probate can be somewhat cumbersome, with the need for preparation of special court documents and attorney appearances in court. With a sophisticated trustee or when all the beneficiaries are in agreement, avoiding probate may be desirable. A rule of thumb used by many estate planners is 5 % of your total estate for probate costs.

If I have a Will, do my assets have to go through the probate process?

Probate is a legal process for managing estates of decedents and disabled persons. A court appoints and supervises a responsible individual or trust company, usually as designated by you in your will, who administers and distributes assets. Probate has the advantage of involving a judge to help sort out disputes and supervise unsophisticated executors but because a court is involved, probate can be somewhat cumbersome, with the need for preparation of special court documents and attorney appearances in court. With a sophisticated trustee or when all the beneficiaries are in agreement, avoiding probate may be desirable. A rule of thumb used by many estate planners is 5 % of your total estate for probate costs.

Is Joint Tenancy an effective way to avoid Probate?

Probate can be avoided by holding property in joint tenancy with another person, BUT there are several disadvantages to this. To sell real estate, stocks and many other types of assets held in joint tenancy during your lifetime, you must have the signature of both joint tenants. Thus, if your joint tenant is uncooperative or becomes incapacitated, you cannot readily sell or transfer your assets. Bank accounts can be more of a problem because your joint tenant has the right to withdraw funds at any time without your consent. In addition, if your joint tenant has creditor problems, the creditor of the other joint tenant can garnish the jointly held asset to satisfy the debt. This could ultimately cause you to lose the asset. Finally, adding someone as a joint tenant may be considered a gift to that person and a gift tax may be imposed. In summary, although there are advantages to using joint tenancy, they are usually outweighed by the disadvantages.

How can proper estate planning avoid unnessary Capital Gains Taxes for my heirs?

Often people use joint tenancy titling of assets as a way to avoid probate. However, this has proved to be a tax disaster for many people because they chose to focus on avoiding probate instead of avoiding capital gains taxes. With joint tenancy, as a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse only receives a partial, and not full, “stepped-up” basis on the particular investment. Thus if properties are sold, there could be significant capital gains taxes due – all of which could have been avoided with proper planning. The short answer is that if you own appreciated assets, such as real estate, it is essential to do educated estate planning rather than just a knee jerk retiling of the property in joint tenancy.

Who controls the assets of a Trust?

The trustee named under the trust controls the assets of the trust. In a living trust, the individual who creates the trust typically acts as trustee, thus you can act as your own trustee. When this is the case, you retain broad powers to control and use the assets of the trust. When someone other than you is the trustee, the trust sets forth specific instructions for the investment and use of the trust assets. Typically you will also be the beneficiary of the trust during your lifetime. That means that you have the right to receive all the income of the trust. This is true whether you or someone else is acting as trustee. So long as you are acting as trustee, no income tax returns nor accountings are required. You may appoint someone other than yourself to act as trustee if you feel you want your assets professionally managed, or if you want them in the hands of an independent party.

What happens if I become incapacitated?

One of the great advantages to a living trust is that it provides for comprehensive disability planning. If you become incapacitated, a living trust provides for a successor trustee to take over the control and maintenance of the trust. The successor trustee invests the trust funds and uses them for your benefit, according to the instructions in the trust. The successor trustee cannot use the assets for his or her own benefit, although he or she may receive compensation (if allowed under the terms of the trust). Additionally, the trust avoids the necessity of having a family member or other person named as a guardian by the probate court to manage your assets.

Can a Living Trust avoid death taxes?

A living trust can be used to reduce or eliminate death taxes under certain circumstances, and especially for married couples. In addition to potential tax savings derived from a comprehensive estate plan, a living trust can also assist in organizing your finances.

How does a married couple incorporate tax planning into their estate plan?

Gifts between spouses are generally non-taxable regardless of the amount. If all of your property passes to your spouse upon your death, no estate tax is paid. Upon the death of your surviving spouse, however, estate taxes may be due. Both you and your spouse are allowed an exemption on your estate taxes. The amount of the exemption is currently $5,000,000 per person for the year 2011.

The applicable exemption is determined in the year the individual dies. If your surviving spouse leaves an estate of less than the applicable exemption, no estate taxes will be due. However, without proper planning, an estate tax may be due if the surviving spouse’s estate exceeds the applicable exemption amount – and estate taxes are very steep. The goal, therefore, of estate tax planning for married couples is to take advantage of the applicable exemption of both spouses, thus doubling the amount that can be left estate tax-free.

How do I take advantage of both exemptions?

In order to take advantage of both exemptions, the first spouse to die must leave assets which are not included in the estate of the surviving spouse. This can be done by leaving up to the applicable exemption amount in a trust from which the surviving spouse receives income, but does not have direct control of the assets. Upon the death of the surviving spouse, the trust assets pass to the couple’s heirs or other beneficiaries. The assets in this exempt trust, including appreciation in value, are not included in the estate of the surviving spouse and not subject to the estate tax. Thus, when the surviving spouse passes away, his or her own applicable exemption will be applied to his or her estate.

Can I plan for estate taxes if I am not married?

Single persons cannot shelter twice the applicable exemption from estate taxes in the same way as married couples, but there are other methods of reducing estate taxes. These methods are centered around making gifts during your lifetime to reduce the size of your estate. Normally the gifts are made to the persons who would receive your property at the time of your death. The tax rules regarding gifts are very complex, and, therefore, a competent estate planning attorney should be consulted for a full explanation of the alternatives.

Does a Living Trust speed up the distribution of my assets?

Probate estates usually remain undistributed for at least six months after the probate process has started to allow creditors an opportunity to present claims. The trustee of a living trust has the same responsibilities as an executor in a probate administration: identify and transfer assets, render an accounting, pay creditors, file and pay death and income taxes, and resolve any pending litigation. Usually this will take roughly the same amount of time as administering a probate estate. If a Federal Estate Tax return is due, the trustee or executor may elect not to distribute all of the probate or trust assets until the return is audited and the tax paid. Probate can be delayed by disputes in court.

Can I avoid creditors with a Revocable Living Trust?

Contrary to what some may believe, your assets cannot be “hidden” from your creditors by putting them into a revocable living trust. At the time of your death your trustee will pay off any final expenses and debts that may be outstanding. Moreover, while you are living, you retain complete control over the trust assets and therefore, they will, for example, be included in any calculation to determine if nursing home care is to be paid for by public aid.

Is a Trust more private than a Will?

Like most court records, probate files are open to the public. Anyone can go to the courthouse and review your probate file; however, as a practical matter, this rarely happens. In Illinois, under modern probate procedures (called “independent administration”) an inventory and accounting do not have to be filed with the court, and therefore the key documents showing the assets of the decedent are not made public. A living trust provides the ultimate in privacy because it does not pass through probate at all.

How do I know if a Living Trust makes sense for me?

It is always important to have appropriate professional advice in tackling something as complicated as a living trust. We offer our current as well as prospective clients a complimentary consultation to discuss the living trust process in greater detail.

Contact

Centrally located convenient location with FREE parking.

(949) 860-7433

info@SecurityLegalServices.com

Monday-Friday 8:30 am - 5:30 pm

15615 Alton Parkway, Suite 175, Irvine, CA 92618

The purpose of this web site is to provide information and insight about SECURITY LEGAL SERVICES and topics of general legal interest. The information and insight contained in this site are provided only as general information for educational purposes, which may or may not reflect the most current legal developments. No representation is made about the accuracy of the information. The site topics may or may not be updated subsequent to their initial posting. By using this site you understand that this information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship — or any other client relationship — and is not intended to constitute legal advice. This web site shall not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state or territory. Mark D. Klein, Esq. does not wish to represent anyone desiring representation based upon viewing this site in a state or territory where this site fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state or territory. This site is not intended for those viewers in any state or territory where the blog fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state or territory.