Committed Estate Planning Lawyer Helping Southern California Clients Prepare for the Future
It’s important to use the services of a qualified, experienced attorney when preparing for the future of your legacy to protect against any problems that might arise from a lack of proper planning. Even though many people understand the importance of estate planning, many simply don’t follow through. Not being prepared can have devastating consequences for the life that you’ve built and those left behind.
Stephen Shepard Attorney at Law can help ensure that your wishes are followed in the event of your death or incapacitation.
The Importance of Estate Planning
Proper planning will help to:
- Designate the family members and loved ones that you wish to receive your assets after your death.
- Minimize taxes.
- Avoid the time, costs and headache of probate court.
- Outline your wishes regarding medical care in case you are incapacitated.
- Reduce the time and legal hassles during distribution of property to those you’ve designated.
- Appoint care for any minor children.
It is critical that such a document follow legal rules in order to be valid, as establishing a will allows you to allocate assets to designated beneficiaries (including specific people and/or organizations) following your death. A will also allows you to name an executor and guardian(s) for any minor children.
Trusts can replace or be created in addition to a will. A living trust is a legal entity that holds your property and is administered by you. A living trust gives you the freedom of managing your own property and can be revoked at any time. Additionally, the property in the trust avoids probate. Forming a trust has a number of advantages and there are different types to fit your needs. Unlike a will, a trust is private. Consult with a qualified estate planning attorney to understand if a trust would be an effective part of your estate plan.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney document authorizes another person, or “agent,” to act on your behalf regarding business transactions in the event that you become incapacitated or pass away. It’s important to execute a Medical Power of Attorney to ensure that you receive the kind of healthcare that you desire if you are unable to make those decisions. Attorney Stephen Shepard can help you to create a directive to physicians that will outline your wishes about how a doctor should approach your treatment. Such issues as your desired quality of life or Do Not Resuscitate orders (DNR) are covered in such a document. Designating a durable power of attorney designates a “patient advocate” to help make those critical decisions as well.
If you should become unable to manage your own affairs, a power of attorney designates an agent to act on your behalf. This kind of advance directive can designate what kind of health care you would like to receive in the case of incapacitation.
Stephen Shepard Attorney at Law can also assist with Conservatorships and Guardianships.
Costs & Fees
Living trust and estate planning services (not probate) are handled on an hourly fee basis plus costs incurred. An advance fee retainer is required before representation begins. When an advance fee retainer is used up, it must be replenished to the original amount. Our current hourly rate is $300 per hour.