Below are some commonly asked questions. Please reach out to us via our contact page if you have a question not addressed.
A common mistake. Sometimes called self-help estate planning, adding loved ones, even trusted loved ones, as owners of your property and accounts quite often FAILS to ensure that the loved one will get that property when you pass. Unnecessary tax consequences can be incurred, and sometimes other consequences too, for this type of self-help estate planning; especially where medicaid might become needed. You cannot predict what debts, or surprised liability the new beloved relative might bring to bear on your home or accounts. Let us make planning easier on you. Call J. West Law Firm.
Beneficiary designations, sometimes called payable on death provisions, are often used on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and more. The provisions permit the passing of assets from a deceased person to his or her beneficiary of choice without necessity of probate. But wait, sometimes those assets are owed to other creditors; so, don't get ahead of yourself. Get some more advice, call J. West Law Firm for honest and understandable answers.
If you die without a Will, you have died intestate. The laws of your state will dictate how to dispose of your property, and possibly where to place your minor children. Start planning today at J. West Law Firm. Call now.
Sometimes called a Directive to Physicians, a Living Will allows you to state your medial treatment wishes in the event you come to find yourself in a terminal condition, (without reasonable hope of recovery) and cannot express your wishes yourself. Frequently, a Living Will is executed along with a Power of Attorney for Healthcare which can give an agent legal authority to make even more detailed healthcare decisions for you when you are unable to do so yourself.
A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone you know and trust to make decisions on your behalf. A Power of Attorney can be created for financial matters, health matters, or both. Powers granted under a Power of Attorney can be restricted to only certain transactions or events. A Power of Attorney which is not effective except under certain circumstances is sometimes said to have Springing powers. If you are incapacitated, or otherwise unable to make financial or medical decisions for yourself, your family will be grateful that you called J. West Law firm to have these documents ready with just a few short questions. Power of Attorney is a powerful estate planning tool that is simple to create. Start planning today with J. West Law Firm.
A will is a document which, when prepared and signed according to law, describes how you would like the property you owned at your death to be distributed. A will can also set forth your desires as to whom will take care of you children , if they are minors, and what is to be done with your remains after you die. Wills do not create ownership in property, they just direct the change in ownership, so long as the maker of the will had the power to direct the change. A sound argument can be made that everyone with minor children should have a will. Without a will, the government and its laws decide who gets your property and who tends to your minor children when you die. If you have more questions about wills, we have answers. Call today.
A revocable living trust is useful for most anyone who owns assets held under some form of title, such as a house, bank accounts, and vehicles. Whether you simply want your loved ones to avoid court interference at your passing (probate avoidance) or incapacity, or you wish to plan to protect assets from taxation, creditors, divorce, or accidental disinheritance, consider a revocable living trust. A trust allows you to bring all of your assets and distribution desires together under one plan.
A revocable living trust is an agreement between three parties: 1) The Trust-makers; 2) The Trustee(s) (or Trust Managers); and 3) Trust Beneficiaries. A trust agreement is drafted describing the terms of the trust which should outline the wishes of the Trust-maker(s) (sometimes also called the Grantors or Settlors). Assets are transferred to the trust, but remain available to be reclaimed by the Trust-maker(s). Backup Trustees, typically called Successor Trustees can step in under the terms of the trust to manage the assets should the Trust-maker(s) become incapacitated or die. With planning, the Trust-Maker(s) can avoid or eliminate death taxes on their estate, and even protect what they leave behind from the creditors and debts of future beneficiaries. When prepared right, of this may be accomplished without ever having to go to court or through probate.
Probate a legal process by which ownership rights from the estate of a deceased person are counted and transferred in an orderly fashion to his or her creditors, beneficiaries, and heirs. Probate is important. It can eliminate the risk of creditors chasing after funds later, and clear title to property for sale or righteous use now. Probate does not always have to be expensive and time-consuming. Many people choose to avoid probate in order to save money, spare their heirs a legal hassle, and keep their personal affairs private. Whether you need help getting started in the probate process, or you want to prepare a plan to help your loved ones avoid probate when you are gone, we want to make it easy for you. Call today.