Top-Rated Los Angeles Estate Planning Lawyers

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Proper estate planning can help ensure that your family is protected after you pass away. Experienced Los Angeles estate planning attorneys work to address your financial concerns and health issues. Skilled planning can help save the amount of taxes that are due. Proper planning helps ensure that the people you want to own and manage your business can do so. Estate planning is essential if you have any family members with special needs such as a disability. Skilled planning can help avoid disputes among your heirs and beneficiaries. Good planning can also help avoid a very long, emotional, and expensive process in probate court.

Our Los Angeles estate planning attorneys review the following legal documents and strategies for seniors, parents, business owners, and adults of all ages:

Your last will and testament

This document is used to determine which assets are distributed to which beneficiaries. Beneficiaries can include nonprofits and charities in addition to the members of your families and friends. A last will and testament are used to determine who will raise your children while they are minors. The last will and testament appoint an executor or executrix to handle your estate. This is normally somebody that you trust to handle your financial matters and to resolve any disputes among your heirs. Wills are also used to help determine who will control your business when you die. 

Effective estate planning also tries to reduce the risk of any will contests. Wills can be contested in Los Angeles:

  • If the testator lacked testamentary capacity at the time the will was prepared
  • If undue influence was used to pressure the testator to make an unwarranted will
  • There is another will or a codicil
  • The will fails to comply with California and Los Angeles formal requirements

Your last will and testament

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Skilled Los Angeles estate planning lawyers work to minimize the assets that need to be probated. Generally, any assets that are controlled by the will be probated. Assets that do not pass to your heirs and beneficiaries through the will avoid the time and expense of probate. Effective probate planning can also help avoid any disputes about the handling of the assets. Non-probate assets generally are not subject to federal or state taxation. Some of the ways to avoid the probate of assets include:

  • Proper titling of assets. For example, homes are normally titled as tenants by the entirety or as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. In this way, the assets pass directly to your spouse or the survivor without going through probate. 
  • Life insurance proceeds. The life insurance policy should designate a beneficiary and an alternate beneficiary. Otherwise, the proceeds of the life insurance policy need to be probated,
  • Trust documents. Placing assets in the trust is a typical strategy used to avoid the probate of assets. There are many different types of trusts that your Los Angeles estate planning attorney will review. Some of these trusts include: 
    • Special needs trust to provide for children or family members who have a physical or mental health disability.
    • Pour-over trusts. These are documents that are used in combination with a will to ensure that your spouse obtains your share of the assets without having to probate those assets.
    • Generation-skipping trusts are used to reduce or avoid the death taxes due on your estate
    • There are also trusts used to help protect your assets from creditors and many other types of trusts. 

Financial powers of attorney

These documents are prepared so that somebody you trust can manage your financial affairs if you become or already are incapacitated for physical or mental health reasons.

Medical powers of attorneys and advanced healthcare directives

Healthcare powers of attorney designate someone to act on your behalf regarding your medical care while you are alive. Health care directives are used to inform hospitals and health care providers what treatments should or shouldn’t be given on your behalf when you are at the end of your life or facing life-threatening medical difficulties. 

Business succession plans

Whether you need a business succession plan depends, in part, on the type of business structure you have. Different plans are needed for sole proprietorships than are needed for partnerships and for corporations. There are different plans for S corporations, C corporations, and other types of business structures such as limited liability companies. Generally, if you have a sole proprietorship, you will need to review your business succession plan with an experienced Los Angeles estate planning attorney. The other structures may also need to be reviewed by your estate planning attorney. Some of the factors to consider include:

  • Who will own the business when you die: 
  • How the value of the business will be determined 
  • Who will manage the business when you die 

To achieve some of these business goals, the documents that may be used include wills, life insurance policies, and business or partnership agreements with the co-owners. 

Tax planning

If you have substantial wealth, you may need to pay a federal estate tax. California generally does not have an inheritance tax. However, if the estate earns income before it settles, then there may be fiduciary tax obligations at both the state and federal levels. Proper estate planning can help reduce, minimize, and address these tax obligations. 

There may be other estate planning considerations depending on your financial situation; your health situation; and your family, business, and personal goals for the time when you die.

Contact Our Los Angeles Estate Planning Attorneys Today

At JS Abrams Law, our Los Angeles estate planning lawyers work to review your needs and goals. We then work to draft the correct documents to meet your needs and goals. Call us at 818-330-4515 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.

Speak to our Los Angeles estate planning attorneys by sheduling your consultation today by calling: (818) 330-4515

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