Who Needs Estate Planning?
Estate planning isn’t about how much money you have, it’s about protecting what you have for you, during your life and for those you love, after you’re gone. It ensures what you have gets to the people you love, the way you want, when you want.
If you were to die today, are you comfortable everything will be taken care of the way you wanted? Estate planning is legally ensuring things will be handled the way you want by providing sufficient instructions.
Estate Planning really is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you have $40,000 or $400,000. You still have to plan for the future. Whether it’s to name a guardian for your minor children or ensure your children don’t blow through your assets if you unexpectedly die or become disabled (Terri Schiavo case).
Estate planning can only be done by attorneys, and it can be as simple as a Will, Health Care Proxy, Living Will and Power of Attorney. It can also include a revocable, probate-avoidance trust, asset protection trusts, multi-generational tax-saving trusts, tax-saving charitable trusts, private family foundations, and many other fact-specific strategies.
Keeping your Estate Plan Current…
Once completed, your estate plan should be reviewed and kept current with life events such as birth, death, marriage or divorce of anyone included in your plan. In addition, you should review your plan if there is a significant increase or decrease in your finances or if the laws related to your estate plan change.
The Fong Law Group offers a maintenance program that provides you regular access to us to make sure your estate plan stays current with your wishes, family, finances and law.
Estate Planning Attorneys
Would you have your regular doctor do your heart surgery? Sounds like a stupid question right? However, the same could be said for choosing the right attorney for your estate planning. Unfortunately, the legal profession does not have specialties, like the Medical profession. You have to guess whether your attorney is qualified to guide you on your estate planning options.
It seems every brochure or letter you receive from your bank, financial advisor, or brokerage firm asks if you have done your “estate plan.” Fact is your bank, financial advisor or brokerage firm can only help you with the financial planning aspects of your estate. You need a qualified estate planning attorney to draft the legal documents that create an estate plan for you. A qualified estate planning attorney will work with your financial advisor and accountant to create the best plan for you.
The intricacies around estate, Medi-Cal and tax planning are extensive. Not only does the attorney need a thorough knowledge of probate law, estate administration, trust, asset protection and Medicaid laws, they must also have an extensive knowledge of income tax, estate tax, gift tax, generation-skipping tax and excise tax laws. All of these areas intertwine and have a significant impact on your estate plan.
While general attorneys may have some knowledge of the law and be able to guide you through certain parts of the estate or Medi-Cal planning processes, they will not be aware of the many exceptions and details an attorney who specializes in estate planning will know.
Contact us the Fong Law Group at (626) 587-2088 and let us help you determine what amount of estate planning is right for you and your family.