Protection For Today, Tomorrow And Beyond
Many people think that estate planning is only for the “rich and famous,” the people you read about in the newspaper or see on television. The fact is, almost every individual and family should have an estate plan. Without a plan of your own, the Internal Revenue Service and State of California will control how your assets are distributed after you pass away. Of course, the state and federal governments are not concerned about minimizing your estate taxes, settlement costs, or ensuring that your wishes are carried out.
In addition, with a properly designed and implemented estate plan, you will be able to control who is able to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Otherwise, a court will decide, and it may very well choose someone you would never have wanted to make these very personal decisions for you. Likewise, you will be able to control the level of care you receive in an end-of-life situation.
If you have minor children, a properly designed plan will include designating the appropriate people to raise your children and to manage their money. If you do not plan, and you can no longer raise your children due to a catastrophic accident, sudden death or disability, a court is going to make decisions about the upbringing of your children. You don’t want to leave important decisions about your children’s well-being to a court! At the Pasadena Law Group, we will work with you to help you decide the best people to raise your children if you can’t, and to create personalized instructions for the guardians of your children.
The tools and strategies we can put to work to accomplish these goals include:
- A variety of Trusts, such as Revocable Living Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts and Minors’ Trusts
- Health Care Directives
- Financial Powers of Attorney
- Authorizations for Release of Protected Health Information
- Guardianship Nominations
At the Pasadena Legal Group, we will design a comprehensive estate plan that addresses your immediate concerns, your worries about long-term care, and your wishes for how your assets are distributed after you are gone. As Pasadena Estate Planning Lawyers, we are also dedicated to keeping your plan up-to-date, so that it works the way it is intended when your physical, financial or family situations change.
Estate Tax Planning
Failing to properly plan for estate taxes can drastically reduce the overall value of the estate you ultimately leave to your heirs when you pass away. Unfortunately, the laws governing estate taxes are constantly changing and extremely complicated.
Estate tax laws have changed more than 20 times since 1986, and the changes keep on coming. For example, when the Bush administration’s 2001 estate tax modifications expired in 2010, the exemption amount was set to return to the 2002 level of $1,000,000 and the maximum rate was to increase from 45% to 55%. In 2011, Congress amended the exemption amount again at the 11th hour, increasing the exemption to $5,000,000 for 2011 with the understanding that the exemption would return to the 2002 level for those who pass away in 2013.
Congress has now enacted a “permanent” estate tax law, effective January 1, 2013. “Permanent,” that is, until Congress changes its mind! And, although California does not have an estate tax, other states do, so if you own property outside California, you may have to deal with those taxes, as well.
We can help you plan to reduce or zero out any tax exposure, and prepare a plan for you with the flexibility you need for changes in the future. With effective planning, you can leave the largest possible estate to your heirs, or the charity of your choice, rather than to the government.
Contact us – Pasadena Estate Planning Lawyers today to learn how we can design a comprehensive estate plan to address all your concerns.