Creative, skillful and caring legal advice is the hallmark of the Estate Planning services of Robertson Law Group. Discussing and preparing an estate plan can be stressful and difficult. This is particularly true for blended families with children from previous marriages, and for families with loved ones who have disabilities.
Robertson Law Group assists clients to formalize their distribution wishes using various legal instruments. We conduct in-depth analyses of your family dynamics and asset mix and counsel you on how best to accomplish the ultimate distribution of your estate. Each estate plan is specially designed with our attorneys to ensure your specific wishes are in place and in a form that will be legally enforceable.
The following list provides a brief description of the more common Estate Planning tools:
Will: A person’s written declaration of how to distribute his/her property after his/her death. Without a Will validly executed, one’s assets will be distributed according to California law, which may include estranged relatives or the relatives of a spouse.
Trust: Revocable and irrevocable trusts are commonly used to transfer property on death without the cost and time of a probate proceeding. A trust is a contract which primarily determines how your property shall be managed during your incapacity and after your death.
Advance Health Care Directive: This document allows you to make instructions about your own health care and also allows you to name an agent to make health care decisions if you are unable to do so for yourself. It also lets you express your wishes regarding organ donation and the disposition of your remains after death.
Powers of Attorney for Financial Management: A document by which one person, as principal, appoints another as his/her agent and confers upon the agent the authority to handle his/her personal financial affairs (non-trust). If the Powers of Attorney are “Durable,” they are effective upon the person signing the document. If the Powers of Attorney are “Springing,” then they are only effective upon the incapacity of the principal which usually must be proved by certifications from treating physicians.
Retirement Benefits: Resulting from the Pension Protection Act of 2006, alternatives are available to holders of IRAs, 401Ks, and other retirement benefits for distribution of these assets upon death. Individuals with substantial assets in these instruments can use beneficiary designations to direct distribution of these asset balances upon death and possibly further defer income tax liability.
Charitable Gifting: Gifting to charities is a common estate planning consideration. There are many ways to structure gifts to charities or non-profits and the Placer County community is fortunate to have many worthwhile charitable organizations to consider.
A Probate is a court proceeding where the assets of a deceased person are distributed to beneficiaries under the supervision of the local Probate Court. A Probate proceeding is necessary to transfer real estate and personal property of a deceased person who has either made a distribution plan using a Will or has died without a Will. Depending upon the nature of the assets, the number of beneficiaries, and the general condition of the estate, a Probate proceeding can take from 6 months to 3 years to complete. Statutory fees are paid to the Executor and the Executor’s attorney for their participation in the proceeding which can amount to over ten thousand ($10,000) dollars in an Estate worth $150,000 or more.
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Trust Administration is the task of carrying out the distribution instructions of a Trust upon the incapacity or death of a Trustor. It is performed by the person you select to be your successor Trustee. This person will have complete authority over and management of the Trust assets until they are finally distributed to your beneficiaries. For many people, administering a Trust is something they will only do once in a lifetime. Our office will assist to simplify trust administration as much as possible and minimize overall costs of same for a surviving spouse or successor trustee.
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In a conservatorship of a person, a court appointed person, the conservator, manages the personal care of the person who has legally been determined to be unable to properly care for his/her personal needs including medical care, food, clothing, or shelter. In a conservatorship of the estate, a court appointed conservator manages the financial affairs of a person who has been legally determined to be substantially unable to manage his/her own financial resources or to resist fraud or undue influence.
Our office is skilled in obtaining conservatorships, defending them or litigating them if appropriate.
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Special Needs Planning
We assist families with disabled loved ones to strategize the provision of financial support for those individuals with special needs through estate planning.
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Robertson Law Group represents trustees, beneficiaries and executors in all types of trust and estate contests and lawsuits. We have litigated many cases to successful outcomes with the use of mediation and court intervention.
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