An investment in planning can make a big difference to yourself and to your loved ones. Through proper planning you can create the tools for efficient management of your affairs during your lifetime and for an orderly transition upon your death.
Patsy’s goal is to help you assess the particular needs of yourself and your family. She will help you identify your primary goals, such as avoiding the cost or time of probate, simplifying the process for your family, providing for minors, protecting the availability of public benefits, etc. She informs you of the legal and tax aspects of different plans. Together you will make decisions about your plan, and she will tailor your documents to meet your needs.
Many families include some combination of “his, her & our” children. Careful discussion of intentions and concerns can maximize the possibility that your goals will be met and later family strife avoided. Patsy’s training and experience in communication skills can facilitate the discussion of topics which are sometimes sensitive.
When you make an appointment to come in you will be sent a Profile to be completed before the meeting so that you can organize all the pertinent information so that we can assist you efficiently.
Wills & Trusts
Both a will and a trust contain “dispositive” language – they say who will inherit from you. A will must be probated, unless the estate is under a certain dollar limit, or unless everything is passing outright to a surviving spouse.
A trust avoids probate if it is properly prepared and funded. Patsy will accomplish some of the funding for you by preparing deeds for real property which you will sign when you sign your trust. She will assist you with, or give you directions for, transferring other assets.
It is essential that your estate plan be fully coordinated. Employee benefits, IRAs, and proceeds of life insurance all must be assessed so that the proper beneficiary can be designated in order for your goals to be accomplished and for the greatest tax savings.
Patsy will help you to sort through your needs, goals, and concerns, so that the documents she drafts for you are tailored for your situation.
Powers of Attorney
Powers of attorney name an agent for management of your financial affairs and health care decisions if you lose your capacity. Patsy will help you sort through the issues so that you feel confident that you have named the right person to make these important decisions for you. The important issue of life support will be addressed in these documents.
Special Needs Trusts
Many clients have a loved one for whom they wish to provide, but who is currently receiving public benefits, such as SSI or Medi-Cal. If their loved one receives an inheritance, the public benefits will likely stop. Patsy will help you assess whether it would be wise to leave an inheritance outright and give up the benefits, or perhaps to leave the inheritance in a “Special Needs Trust” which will not considered by the State to be owned by the beneficiary. The income and assets can be used only for those things that the public benefits do not cover – much the way you might now be paying for special things such as travel, entertainment, dental work, etc., which Medi-Cal doesn’t cover.
The law provides that married couples and registered domestic partners automatically have some legal rights in decision-making if their partner is incapacitated or dies. Even for those couples it is important that wishes be spelled out clearly so that things are as smooth as possible. That is not the case for unmarried couples, no matter how long the relationship. The proper documents – Will, Trust, Powers of Attorney – can ensure that the agent of your choice will make the decisions about your finances and physical body if you become incapacitated, and ensure that the beneficiary/ies of your choice receive your assets after your death. Patsy has worked with many couples to help them establish estate plans that carry out their goals and legally establish their ability to make decisions about and for each other.