Estate Planning

Contra Costa Estate Planning Lawyer

“Sometimes a good outcome is very clear – getting a restraining order against an abusive spouse, or getting spousal support against a spouse who’s hiding income. Other times, a good outcome is far more nuanced. Without fail, all of our best outcomes, our big wins, come about because only one side did the work. And a big, big part of that is deeply understanding the people involved and what makes them tick.”

Amy Laughlin

Straight Talk from an Estate Planning Attorney in Contra Costa

An estate plan is something most people don’t want to consider, and even fewer want to pay for. “I don’t care what happens after I’m dead” is a sentiment Lucas Pastuszka hears often from his clients. However, if you had witnessed some of the situations that Laughlin Legal’s Lucas Pastuszka has encountered, you might reconsider.

Lucas, an Estate Planning attorney in Contra Costa, has observed numerous families recklessly squandering a fortune in court because the parents either neglected to put an estate plan in place or failed to hire a skilled Contra Costa Estate Planning attorney, resulting in an inadequate or ambiguous estate plan.

Sadly, this happens all too often. Lucas emphasizes, “Not all of us have a fortune to protect, but most of us have family. Whether they praise us or resent us after we’re gone, to a large degree, it’s up to us!” The more educated we are about Estate Planning, the more likely we are to hire one of the best Estate Planning attorneys in Contra Costa instead of one of the worst.

A Contra Costa Estate Planning attorney explains the terms you need to know

A will is the one Estate Planning document we are all most likely familiar with. Simply stated, a will is a legal document that outlines a person’s wishes about the distribution of their property and the care of any minor children.

The testator is the adult, 18 years or older, who makes a valid will, typically with the help of an estate planning attorney.

beneficiary is a person who is designated in a legal document such as a will, trust, insurance policy, or retirement account, to receive assets or benefits upon the death of another person or upon the occurrence of a specific event.

An heir is a person who inherits property from someone who has died, typically when there is no will.

Real Property refers to land and any permanent structures (buildings) or improvements attached to the land.

Personal Property refers to moveable assets not associated with real property. This includes things like cash, stocks, jewelry, furniture, cars, etc.

The executor is the person named in a will and appointed by the court to carry out the wishes of the testator after they die.

The administrator, also known as the personal representative, is the person appointed by the court to manage the estate of a person who died without a will. This person is typically close to the deceased, either a spouse, domestic partner, or close relative.

trust is a legal arrangement in which one party, known as the trustor, settlor, or grantor, transfers property or assets to another party, known as the trustee, to hold and manage for the benefit of a third party, known as the beneficiary.

living trust, also known as a revocable trust or an inter vivos trust, is a trust that allows an individual (the grantor) to transfer ownership of their assets into a trust during their lifetime for their own personal benefit. At the grantor’s death, the assets are distributed to beneficiaries designated by the grantor according to the grantor’s specific instructions and conditions.

Probate is the court process through which a deceased person’s estate is settled and distributed. The court appoints an executor or administrator who supervises the collection and appraisal of assets, the payment of debts and expenses, and the distribution of the remaining estate to the beneficiaries or heirs.

Durable Power of Attorney is a legally binding document that authorizes someone to handle your financial affairs and make legal decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Advance Health Care Directive is a legally binding document expressing your health care preferences, such as testing, treatments or procedures you do or don’t want at the end of life. You may also indicate the person you’d like to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Incapacity planning is the process of preparing a Durable Power of Attorney and an Advance Health Care Directive in the event that a person becomes incapacitated.

Conservatorship is when the court appoints someone to act or make decisions for someone who is incapacitated and does not have a Durable Power of Attorney or an Advance Health Care Directive.

When should you get an estate plan and how can you find one of the best Estate Planning law firms in Contra Costa?

Some financial advisors will suggest you create an estate plan as soon as you’re legally an adult, but you definitely need one if you own substantial assets, own real property, or have minor children. Once you acquire property, you will be doing a favor to the people you love if you specify how you’d like it to be divided upon your death. As Estate Planning lawyers in Contra Costa and elsewhere will tell you, when you get an estate plan is largely a matter of personal choice, however, once you have a spouse or child, it’s a matter of personal responsibility. You do not want to follow in the footsteps of Prince, Aretha Franklin, Howard Hughes, Jimi Hendrix, and Martin Luther King, all of whom left a mess for their families when they died without an estate plan or a will

And when you’re ready to get an estate plan, do your homework. Google: best Estate Planning attorney Contra Costa, and find an Estate Planning attorney who’s experienced, thoughtful, and trustworthy. The Contra Costa Estate Planning attorneys at Laughlin Legal can help protect you, your family, your estate, and your legacy by creating a plan that will allow your estate to be distributed efficiently and cost-effectively in the way you choose to the people you choose.

How frequently should you meet with your Contra Costa Estate Planning lawyer to review your plan?

At the very least, you should review and update your estate plan whenever there is a significant change in your life – in your marital status, the addition of a child, the death of a family member, divorce, etc. Reviewing at regular intervals, every two to three years, would be ideal. At Laughlin Legal, we will honestly tell you if your estate plan could be improved, requires a revision, or if it is operating as intended. Do not hesitate to ask us! We provide complimentary reviews of your current estate plan!

Do you need an Estate Planning law firm in Contra Costa?

If you or someone you love doesn’t have an estate plan in place, learn more about how an experienced Estate Planning attorney in Contra Costa can represent you and your values. Call us now at 650-239-6064 to schedule your first consultation with us. If you’d prefer, you can email us to set up your appointment. If we miss your call, we will respond promptly and call you back as soon as possible.

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Think About It: Is It Really So Strange To Have A Transactional Real Estate Lawyer At A Family Law Firm? We find it

You’re in luck because you’re in California, a community property state. And that makes the division of assets simple in that everything acquired

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