Estate Planning – An Overview
Estate planning allows an individual to plan for his or her lifetime objectives and to provide direction about the disposition of his or her assets after death. Estate planning can include wills and trusts as well as powers of attorney and healthcare directives. Estate planning is impacted by state and federal law, and any individual may find that more elaborate or creative legal means are necessary for his or her situation. Some of these more complex techniques include trusts, family limited partnerships (FLPs) and limited liability companies (LLCs).
An estate planning lawyer from Law Office of Hugh Duff Robertson P.C. in Los Angeles, CA, can be an essential ally in assuring that your estate planning goals are understood and carried out. If you have estate planning-related legal questions, call Law Office of Hugh Duff Robertson P.C. today to schedule a consultation.
Asset Protection and Estate Planning
An important goal of estate planning is to protect income and assets from creditors’ claims and tax collection. While many people think asset protection involves shady or dishonest techniques, there are many ways to protect financial reserves, personal property, real estate, and other assets for retirement or for future generations. In addition to federal and state laws that exempt certain types of property from creditors’ claims, taxation, or both, there are numerous estate planning tools that may be able to shield assets from future creditors and reduce or eliminate estate or income taxation.
Estate Planning Needs of the Elderly
Elder law deals with the legal, financial and health needs of senior citizens. The country’s average age is advancing all the time, and now even baby-boomers are dealing with health issues and legal concerns they had not anticipated. In addition to estate planning, elder law attorneys also help with preparing for long-term healthcare needs, applying for government programs, addressing financial fraud, combating physical abuse, and establishing guardianships and conservatorships.
Wills and Trusts
A will is a document that tells a person’s family or heirs and the courts how to distribute his or her money and property. A will is a basic estate planning tool, and a current and valid will is the best way to make sure your property is distributed according to your wishes and your family is taken care of after you’re gone. Many people also use trusts in conjunction with their will, as an independent estate planning tool or both.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document in which a person (the principal) designates and authorizes another person (the agent or attorney-in-fact) to transact business or make certain decisions on his or her behalf. When a power of attorney is in effect, the agent essentially steps into the shoes of the principal and makes decisions that are legally binding on the principal. Powers of attorney can grant broad, general authority (known as a general power of attorney) or they can limit the attorney-in-fact’s power to act on behalf of the principal to particular situations (known as a special power of attorney). Because there are many different types of powers of attorney available to address a variety of situations, powers of attorney are extremely useful estate planning tools.
Frequently Asked Questions about Estate Planning
Q: What is a will?
A: A will is a written legal document with instructions for distributing an individual’s assets after his or her death. A will must be formally executed as required by state law to be legally valid and enforceable.
Q: What is a trust?
A: A trust is a legal entity created to hold assets for the benefit of another person or entity. There are many types of trusts that can be used to achieve a person’s or entity’s estate planning objectives.
Estate Planning Resource Links
Federal Estate Tax Laws
Title 26, Subtitle B, Chapter 11 of the Internal Revenue Code, governing federal estate taxes.
Federal Gift Tax Laws
Title 26, Subtitle B, Chapter 12 of the Internal Revenue Code, governing federal gift taxes.
Social Security Administration Retirement Planner
The federal Social Security Administration provides retirement planning and disability benefit information from this website.