Both parts of the title to this article are a myth. First, most people don’t have a will. In fact, it’s estimated that only about half of all Americans have a will; even though, all need one. Second, a will is not all that anyone needs. A will only handles a few matters and is only effective when you’re dead. There’s much more to estate planning than that. For example, a will almost guarantees probate, except for modest estates. Probate is expensive, especially in California. Probate … [Read more...] about MYTH: Most People Have a Will and that’s All They Need
Powers of Attorney
If you become incapacitated at any point in your life, who will manage your finances? You may think that you know the answer to that questions, but from a legal perspective you may not. Incapacity can happen slowly as part of the natural aging process or can happen in a moment as the result of the tragic accident. Regardless of how you become incapacitated, someone will have to manage your finances. If you are married at the time you become incapacitated, your spouse may have access to some … [Read more...] about Who Will Manage Your Finances If You Become Incapacitated?
The health and safety of our clients, staff, and friends of the law firm are top of mind amid concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As estate planning and elder law attorneys, our practice is dedicated to serving our most vulnerable citizens, including seniors, those who are ill, disabled, experiencing mental health challenges and children with special needs. The uncertainty around the pandemic has many people with immune system challenges concerned about exposure to the … [Read more...] about Our Available Services During COVID-19/Coronavirus Pandemic
Before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our clients were already assisting elderly or disabled family member and friends with such things as meals, medications, medical visits and shopping. Regular visits just to check in were also part of many folks’ normal routines. COVID-19 restrictions have had a large negative impact on many of these activities. So, how can you continue to assist under these new circumstances? Here are a few thoughts: Medical Issues Under a federal … [Read more...] about Assisting Family and Friends During These Trying Times
A power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document that has been around in varying forms for centuries. The concept, or purpose, behind a power of attorney is the ability to give another person the legal authority to act on your behalf. The extent and the duration of the authority depends on the type of POA that you execute. Although POAs are widely used by people of all ages, they are particularly popular with the elderly. Unfortunately, they are also widely used by people who want to take … [Read more...] about Basics of Powers of Attorney
You, and every person over the age of 18, need two powers of attorney. A power of attorney names a trusted helper to act on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself. The Financial Power of Attorney The financial power of attorney authorizes your trusted helper to sign your name and conduct business on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Your trusted helper is called an “agent” or “attorney in fact,” depending on state law. It is wise to name a succession of agents in … [Read more...] about You Need Two Powers of Attorney
We are happy to report that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still able to deliver quality legal services and to serve our community with their legal needs. We also are doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing facial coverings, disinfecting our office, providing hand sanitizer to all visitors, practicing social distancing, and offering telephonic and video conferencing options. While we navigate our way through this unprecedented era, we will be operating with the above … [Read more...] about Important Notice Regarding COVID-19
Occasionally, a client will ask, “Do I really need all of these estate planning documents?” Usually, it’s rhetorical questions and a joke about trees, but we answer the question anyway. After all, estate planning attorneys like trees. The estate planning documents that your attorney will recommend will be based upon your concerns, finances, goals, and the law. The consequences of not having these documents are often harsh. While you may need advanced estate planning, the typical basic … [Read more...] about Are All of these Estate Planning Documents Necessary?
A Power of Attorney is among the most commonly used of all estate planning documents. As such, there is a very good chance that you will execute, and/or be named as an Agent in, a Power of Attorney at some point. If so, it is imperative that you understand how the Agent’s ability to make gifts is treated in the document. To help you better understand, we will discuss the ability to make gifts in a Power of Attorney. What Is a Power of Attorney? A power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document … [Read more...] about Does Your Power of Attorney Allow Gifts to Be Made?
When you’re healthy, it’s hard to imagine being unhealthy. But it happens; in fact, if you’re in your thirties or forties, you are three times more likely to become incapacitated in any one year than to die. Incapacity refers to the inability to provide informed consent for medical decisions; it also refers to the inability to manage your finances and make day-to-day personal business decisions. Incapacity can be caused by a car accident, work accident, medicine overdose, stroke, head … [Read more...] about Why You Need Incapacity Planning as Well as Estate Planning