Providing Secure Futures for Our Clients
An estate plan allows you to provide for your family members and other loved ones after you pass. A comprehensive plan can involve numerous complex legal documents. A qualified estate planning attorney is your best source for information on estate law and options to best protect your assets.
Giammichele Law, APC provides comprehensive estate planning services to individuals and families in Laguna Woods and surrounding communities. Whether you want to modify an existing estate plan or create a new plan, we can help.
Our Laguna Woods estate planning attorney has extensive experience assisting clients with several essential documents, including:
Set up a consultation to determine what documents will satisfy your estate planning needs. At the completion of the consultation, you will be advised accordingly and provided with a price for our services. You are under no obligation to move forward unless you wish to.
The Essential Elements of a Basic Estate Plan
Below, please find a full description of a basic estate plan with a description of each document included. If you schedule an appointment with our office, please bring in a copy of any estate planning documents that you have. If you have no estate planning documents, it is best to bring as much information about your assets as possible.
Last Will & Testament
A last will & testament names an executor to handle your estate (assets in your individual name) upon your death. A will also sets forth who will receive your assets (the beneficiaries). Depending on the value of the assets in your name, probate proceedings may need to be initiated to handle your estate.
A "pour-over will" is prepared in conjunction with a revocable living trust,. It is only utilized if the decedent died and failed to transfer their assets into the name of the trust. The "pour-over" aspect is language stating, if probate is required, the estate should be distributed in accordance with the trust.
The intent is that the pour-over will should not be used at death. All assets will be held in the name of the revocable living trust, thus avoiding the probate process.
Having a revocable living trust, reduces the likelihood that a probate proceeding to administer the assets of your estate is necessary. If you schedule an estate planning consultation, this will be discussed and explained further. Probate administration can be significantly more expensive than trust administration.
A trust is a conduit through which you can direct the disposition of your assets. Trusts can be irrevocable or revocable, and serve a variety of different purposes.
The right trust can help you:
- Mitigate probate and estate taxes
- Preserve your privacy
- Establish more control over asset distribution than a will
In most estate plans, the type of trust included is a revocable living trust. A revocable living trust is created during your lifetime and can be changed at any time.
Ordinarily, the majority of your assets will be held in trust during your lifetime. These assets need not be transferred into the trust after your death. Upon your death, the trust is designed to distribute your assets in accordance with your wishes.
During your lifetime, all appropriate assets must be transferred into the name of your trust to assist in avoiding probate. Initially, you are the trustee (the person who controls trust assets). Upon your becoming incapacitated (or death), a successor trustee is named to manage the trust assets for beneficiaries.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finance
A durable power of attorney for finance names an “Agent” to handle financial transactions for assets in your individual name. The agent may be given power immediately or may be given power only in the event that you become incapacitated.
This document will only have effect during your lifetime. Additionally, it will only give the agent control over assets in your individual name.
Advance Health Care Directive & HIPAA Authorization & Release
The advance health care directive sets forth your directive regarding the prolonging of life under certain circumstances. It names an “agent” to make medical, end-of-life and personal care decisions if you cannot do so yourself. It also allows you to set forth your wishes regarding burial or cremation and organ donation.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. This is included in the estate plan to assist the fiduciaries appointed in obtaining medical information should it become necessary.
Personalized Estate Planning Services
We take the time to ensure that you understand your documents and that they are personalized to achieve your goals. Have the security of knowing that your estate plan was drafted by an attorney, not a paralegal or a drafting program. We make a commitment to our clients not to use a “cookie cutter” approach to creating their estate plan..