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Torrance California Estate Planning Law Blog

How living trusts can help loved ones with disabilities

Many people worry about how their passing will impact their loved ones. For those who have children with special needs, ensuring their child’s financial security often becomes an additional worry.

But, never fear: There are ways to secure your child’s future without compromising their government benefits or giving up your retirement funds. A special needs trust, a type of living trust, can help bring you peace of mind and provide income for your child for years to come.

Important Estate Planning Documents for Your 18-Year-Old

estate-planning-documents-for-college-kids.jpgIf you have a high school senior in your home, then you are probably gearing up for a major event this month - - graduation! This summer will be a period of transition for your entire family. Whether your graduating senior is headed off to college in the fall or choosing a different life path, it still is a period of transition as your teenage child may be turning 18 (or perhaps already has turned 18!).And if you already didn't feel like you have lost some control of your child's life during their teenage years, when he or she turns 18, this will become legally true. This is when your child will be legally considered an adult and you, as parents, will lose certain rights you once had before.When most people think of estate planning, they typically associate it with something that you do when you are older or when you have money. However, when your child (or grandchild) turns 18 years old, they legally are given the right to govern their own life. This means that you, as a parent, lose your access to your child's financial, educational and medical information. This is great provided all is well and fine, but as life would have it, there are circumstances that a parent of an 18-year-old child would never even think about needing to go through that could happen. And that's what estate planning is all about. It is a means of handling situations that could happen.Below are two must-have estate planning documents that we recommend to every client of ours with an adult child (or grandchild):

New Legislation Will Have A Big Impact On IRA Planning!

The U.S. House of Representatives has recently passed the "SECURE" Act and it's expected to soon be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the President.  This new law will enhance the ability of workers to set aside, on a tax-advantaged basis, more money to fund their retirement.  Good news!  However, also buried in the Bill is a little-known provision that will accelerate and increase the taxation of inherited IRAs - - in order to pay for these new worker benefits! Not so good news!

Are you concerned about family conflict and your estate plan?

Estate planning can be a challenge for anyone. Because each person's life is different, his or her estate plan is also different, which means that you and everyone else will have unique factors to consider when trying to find the best way to express your end-of-life wishes.

Some factors that can complicate estate planning include rare assets, substantial wealth or business succession. However, your concerns may fall elsewhere, like with your family dynamics. This concern is valid because difficult family relationships can easily cause issues to come up when trying to settle your final affairs, or possibly even before.

The Top 5 Estate Planning Mistakes People Make

top-5-estate-planning-mistakes-people-make.jpgIt's a terrible tragedy to see people work hard, scrape and save their whole lives, then just throw away their money - - and their family's future - - when they die. Unfortunately, this happens all of the time!You may be wondering how this can happen to someone who diligently watches his or her financial affairs and successfully builds a good size estate. It's often just plain lack of knowledge. Think about it...most of our knowledge is acquired through experience. But, few of us have yet to experience the consequences of death (unless someone close to you has passed away and you've been involved in handling his or her estate).Here are just a handful of some of the most common mistakes that we see people make when it comes to managing their estate while they're alive (and how to avoid them!).

Benefits of meeting with an attorney for estate planning

It’s great that you’ve taken the steps to begin your estate plan. Doing so is a difficult but important step in your life. Creating estate planning documents, like a will, has never been easier thanks to the proliferation of online estate planning services. These services are often appealing because they’re seen as a quicker and more affordable than taking time to collaborate with an attorney on an estate plan.

While everyone wants a quick and cheap estate plan, you get what you pay for. Many experts feel that these online services are fine for basic estate planning documents like wills, powers of attorney and medical directives if you don’t have many assets. However, there is always risk when you do it yourself.

Do You Need an Attorney to Draft an Estate Plan?

do-you-need-an-attorney-to-prepare-a-trust.jpgWhen it comes to getting an estate plan prepared - - whether it's a Will or Living Trust - - it can be confusing to know whether or not an attorney is necessary. There are a lot of "do it yourself" types of services available out there that give the impression that estate planning is a simple, fill-in-the-blank type of document that's simply assembled and put together with a few questions and a few clicks of a button.But, the truth of the matter is that your estate plan can and should be so much more than a stack of legal documents.Did you know that attorneys were also called "counselors at law"? What this means is that beyond just the estate planning documents that an attorney can prepare for you and your family, an attorney can counsel you about the estate planning decisions that you may make. While you may have a certain idea in your mind about how you want your estate planning to be set up, you may not be aware of some of the potential consequences of those decisions. In particular, with the increasing number of what are called "blended families", where there are children from a prior marriage, estate planning decisions can become complex and require some additional guidance.Think about it, if you had a medical need, you wouldn't opt to go online, self-diagnose yourself and then perform surgery on your own (or let just anyone treat you). You would seek out the experience, expertise, guidance and training of a licensed medical professional. The same is true for your estate planning. You've spent your lifetime working hard to take care of your family. Why wouldn't you take the same care to ensure that your loved ones' inheritance is properly protected, maintained, distributed and preserved through proper guidance provided by a licensed, experienced estate planning attorney?If you are in the Los Angeles or Orange Counties of Southern California, the Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis can help you. We have several offices throughout LA and Orange County and have been around for over 35 years. With several attorneys on staff who are California State Bar Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, you can be sure to receive the proper care you and your family deserve to prepare your estate planning and provide you peace of mind.If you would like to schedule a free 90-minute consultation with one of our attorneys, attend one of our upcoming free Living Trust Seminars. You can also contact our main office at 1-800-756-5596. If you are unable to attend an upcoming seminar, please feel free to join our e-mail list and we will be sure to e-mail you of future seminar dates.This post is brought to you by the good folks at the Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, Inc., servicing the estate planning needs of those in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas of Southern California for over 37 years. We recommend attending one of our free seminars, where you can book a free attorney consultation and even qualify to receive a fee discount. You can contact us at 1-800-756-5596 for more information. We'd also love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

The biggest mistakes you could make as an executor

If you have been selected as executor of a loved one’s estate, it is important to be knowledgeable about your duties and responsibilities. Your conduct could be questioned in a court of law.

What are the biggest mistakes executors make? How can you avoid making them?

Estate plans should involve more than just wills and trusts

Another week has passed and another Hollywood figure has lost his life to an unexpected medical emergency. Director John Singleton was only 51 years old when he suffered a stroke and was taken off of life support by his loved ones. As he survived in a coma in a California hospital prior to his death, his mother and children were in court fighting over whom should be able to control his medical and financial affairs.

When a person does not have several important estate planning tools in place, family members may disagree on how to manage their loved one's needs during the incapacitation period before their loved one's death. Medical and financial powers of attorney are important devices that give control to named individuals when just such situations arise.

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Get the peace of mind that you deserve. First, attend a seminar. This will entitle you to a free initial consultation and a discounted estate planning fee. To learn more about our services or sign up for a seminar, contact us online or call us at 866-402-1805. We have offices in Torrance, Orange, Newport Beach, Pasadena and Woodland Hills.

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