What is a financial power of attorney?
Best Santa Clara Estate Planning Lawyers Near You
Every person with assets and with a family wants to make sure their loved ones have a secure financial future when they die. Seasoned Santa Clara estate planning attorneys discuss the dreams you have for your spouse, children, parents, and other loved ones. We review your concerns that your business should be in the right hands. We’ll discuss how you can provide strong protection for anyone you care about who has a disability.
If you don’t plan for the time you pass away, the California intestate laws will dictate who gets your property. The state will determine who takes care of your children if their co-parent passes away. With proper planning, you can direct which members of your family get your assets and who gets the specific cherished possessions you own. Skilled planning can avoid disputes about who runs your business. Experienced estate planning can reduce the amount of federal estate tax that is due.
Our Santa Clara estate planning lawyers advise seniors, business owners, parents, people who want their money to go to charities, and all California adults – about the types of legal documents that can be used to plan their estates and the provisions of those documents should contain.
Why should you prepare a last will and testament?
There are several reasons why having a will is a good idea:
- Determining who gets your assets. In a will, you can designate which people in your life get which assets. In many cases, a testator (the person who wants the will) designates that their spouse will get their assets and if the spouse isn’t alive, the children will get the assets. A will can also determine who gets your assets if you’re divorced or remarry. A will can designate that a parent or a sibling also should receive part of your estate. You can designate that part of your estate be given to a nonprofit.
- Determining who raises your children. If an accident or illness occurs, you and your spouse or co-parent may die before your children turn 18. A will can designate which relative or which person you trust will raise your children if you die while your children are minors.
- Determining who manages your assets. You want someone to manage your estate that you trust and that you know has the financial ability to manage your estate. Your executor has also had the personal ability to manage any will contests or any other conflicts.
- Designating who will run your business. Wills are an effective way to decide if your business should be sold when you die or if someone such as a daughter or son should run your business when you’re gone.
Wills also help to avoid conflict if someone thinks they didn’t get their fair share. A disgruntled heir can contest a will in Santa Clara county court if:
- The testator did not have the testamentary capacity to prepare a will
- The testator was unduly influenced by someone who received part of the testator’s estate
- There’s another will or codicil (amendment to the will).
- The will wasn’t drafted according to Santa Clara and California rules
Probate avoidance planning
This legal document directs someone you trust to handle your financial affairs if you become incapacitated due to physical or mental health reasons.
How do medical powers of attorneys and advanced healthcare directives work?
Healthcare powers of attorney are used to select a person to make medical decisions for you while you are alive.
Health care directives are used to direct hospitals and health care providers what treatments they should (and should not use) when you have a life-threatening medical problem or you are at the end of your life.
Business succession plans
Many Santa Clara residents spend a good portion of their life developing and growing their businesses. Entrepreneurs such as owners of a restaurant or a professional business usually want someone who knows the business to run the business when they did. The chosen person can be a family member, a co-worker, or someone else. Different legal documents are used depending on the type of business:
- Wills are usually used to direct who will own and/or run a sole proprietorship.
- Partnership agreements are used if you have partners.
- Other estate planning methods are used if you own or have an interest in any type of corporation.
Business succession plans should address:
- Which person (people) own the business on your death
- How to value the business
- Who will manage the business when you die
Life insurance policies and other legal documents may also be used to plan control of your business when you pass away.
Death tax planning
The good news is that California does not currently have an inheritance tax. However, there is a federal tax if your assets are worth more than $11.7 million (for 2021). Estate planning can help reduce these taxes by providing that assets don’t go through probate.
At JS Abrams Law, our Santa Clara estate planning lawyers review your assets, discuss your goals, and explain your options. We prepare the correct legal documents to protect your family and loved ones so you can your life. To discuss your estate planning needs, call us at 818-330-4515 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.