Alright folks, it’s time to have a serious conversation about your future…
Do you have an Estate Plan? For that matter did you even know you needed one? Maybe it’s been on your To-Do list but you just haven’t gotten around to it? I know I was pretty clueless about the topic before I met the fabulous Deidre Von Rock (yes, that is her real and so awesome name!), but what I’ve come to realize is that Estate Planning is as crucial as insurance. You need it and you really don’t want to wait until that’s the case. And with Same-Sex marriage legalized, it’s important to know your rights!
Thank you Deidre!!!
Your 2015 Goal: Setting Up An Estate Plan
Of all the New Year’s resolutions to keep, setting up an estate plan is far and away one of the most valuable things you can do for you and your family this year. This is particularly true for same-sex couples who in many states, including California, can now legally marry and be afforded equal treatment by the federal government for most estate purposes.
Estate Planning Isn’t Just for the Wealthy
It is a common misconception that only the wealthy need to establish estate planning mechanisms like Wills and Trusts, but nothing could be further from the truth in California. Without a Will and Trust in place, any estate valued over $150,000 – i.e., anyone who owns a home in California – will automatically be subject to long, complicated and expensive proceedings the Probate Court. Once there, the value of your assets not set off by debt -meaning your home appraised at $1,000,000 , cheap by San Francisco standards – will be valued at $1,000,000 regardless of any mortgage. The fees and costs assessed by the probate laws and the Court on a $1,000,000 estate will average $50,000 and must be paid before probate can be closed. Alternately, if the assets had been put into a Trust during your lifetime, Probate Court could be avoided completely.
Without a Will in place, your assets will be distributed pursuant to the probate laws rather than to whom you wish. If a person dies and leaves a spouse and two children, the estate will be distributed ⅓ to the spouse and ⅔ to the children; hardly an appropriate outcome. If there is not a surviving parent of minor children, the Court will determine matters of guardianship in the absence of direction by a Will.
Leave a Thoughtful Plan for Your Family
By taking control of your estate plan, you have a chance to establish a thoughtful, enforceable plan for your family in the event of your disability or death rather than leaving the future in the hands of the Courts. This opportunity is particularly important for same-sex spouses who only very recently have been permitted to plan for their families in the same considered and pro-active ways.
Ask for Help from a Professional
There are many more benefits to planning an estate, including the structuring of tax advantages, gift giving and philanthropy. Contact your legal and tax advisors to discuss just how valuable estate planning can be for you.
|About the AuthorWith over 17 years of experience in the areas of business organization, transactions, real estate and estate planning matters, Deidre is prepared to not only offer the highest caliber of legal counsel, but to provide a team of professionals to guide and manage your affairs. By establishing a network of attorneys in a variety of practice areas and working alongside advisors in the financial, taxation, insurance, real estate and personal care arenas, Von Rock Law is equipped to offer global resources for your organizational and personal needs.Deidre graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Political Science in 1993 and earned her Juris Doctorate from New England Law: Boston in 1996. A West Coast native, Deidre has resided in San Francisco since 1996. She is an active member of the St. Brendan parish and school communities and has contributed her talents to several charitable organizations.To learn more about Von Rock Law, visit www.vonrocklaw.com.|