What is Estate Planning?
So, what is estate planning? Estate planning is the development of a thorough strategy for the distribution of your estate and assets upon your death. A solid plan can help provide financial stability for your heirs. In California, a variety of state agencies will be involved in disbursing your assets if you do not have an estate plan. At The Law Offices of Justin M. Gilbert, we are a law firm that specializes in developing estate plans that produce the best results for you and your family by our probate litigation & estate planning attorneys.
Estate planning is not “death planning.” Estate planning is “life planning.” The process is essential and rewarding.
The process usually requires the preparation of several sophisticated legal documents, but those documents themselves are not “estate planning.” Estate planning involves developing a complete strategy for managing your assets. This strategy must be properly documented and maintained by a committed professional who has taken the time to get to know you. This professional should be committed to serve you.
How do I know if I need an estate plan?
Many people believe that estate planning is only for people in one of the following categories:
- People who are particularly wealthy
- People who have elaborate schemes in mind for passing their money to their heirs
- People who are acutely ill and contemplating their death
This belief could not be any further from the truth!
Estate planning is for every husband, wife, mother, father, grandparent, business owner, or professional who . . .
- Have someone they care about
- Are concerned about providing responsibly for their own well being and for the well being of loved ones
- Are seeking to make a difference in the lives of others after they are gone
I had a trust drafted in the 90’s. How do I know if it should be updated?
Your estate plan is a snapshot of you, your family, your assets, and the tax laws in effect at the time it was created. As these situations change over time, your plan should also change. Over the course of your lifetime, your estate plan will need check-ups, maintenance, tweaking, and maybe even replacing. So how do you know when it is time to give your estate plan a review?
- Any change in your personal, family, financial, or health situation should prompt a review.
- A change in tax laws could prompt a change in your estate plan.
What kind of estate plan do I need?
At The Law Offices of Justin M. Gilbert, we are experienced in drafting many different estate planning documents. The most common documents include the following:
- Revocable living trusts
- Powers of attorney
- Health care directives
We will work with you to develop solutions that are tailored to your family’s needs. We also have experience drafting trusts to ensure you remain qualified for Medicare/Medicaid or Veteran’s Benefits.
Please contact our office and schedule an appointment if you would like to discuss your estate planning objectives with Justin M. Gilbert.
Do I Need a Lawyer to administer my Estate Plan?
It seems that Americans are obsessed with lawsuits. If you doubt that we live in a litigious society, look up the number of courtroom reality shows that are on the television every week. Also, consider this fact. Every year, United States citizens file more lawsuits than the combined citizens of the rest of our world.
A competent lawyer will help you establish a plan to protect your assets. He will know how to protect your assets while you are alive, and he will know how to protect your children’s inheritance once you and your spouse have passed away.
The protection for your children should include the following:
- Protection for your child’s inheritance in a divorce situation
- Protection for your grandchild’s inheritance if your adult child dies and your son-in-law or daughter-in-law remarries.
- Protection from their own poor decisions
No that you know the answer to the question, “what is estate planning?” you can take the next step. At The Law Offices of Justin M. Gilbert, our attorneys are committed to providing the best possible protection for the assets of your family. We can establish an asset protection plan that will protect you and your children from creditors and predators both now and in the future.